Dr Stephen Taerum

Postdoctoral Fellow


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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I am broadly interested in symbiosis, population biology, and community ecology, especially pertaining to forest insects. Specifically, I am interested in the temporal and spatial variation in symbionts of forest insects, and the implications of such variation for their insect vectors and tree hosts. Currently, I am studying the symbionts of the red turpentine beetle (Dendroctonus valens), a bark beetle species that invaded China from North America. While D. valens is considered a minor pest in North America, it has become a damaging forest pest in China. Using phylogenetic techniques, population genetics, and pathogenicity trials, I am examining species- and population-level variation in symbionts of D. valens, with particular focus on the ophiostomatalean fungus Leptographium procerum. This research will provide valuable knowledge regarding a major insect pest, as well as variation in symbionts in general, and the impacts of invasion events on symbioses in forests and other ecosystems.

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Taerum SJ, De Beer ZW, Marincowitz S, Jankowiak R, Wingfield MJ. (2018) Ophiostoma quercus: an unusually diverse and globally widespread tree-infecting fungus. Fungal Biology 122(9):900-910. 10.1016/j.funbio.2018.05.005
Chang R, Duong TA, Taerum SJ, Wingfield MJ, Zhou X, De Beer ZW. (2017) Ophiostomatoid fungi associated with conifer-infesting beetles and their phoretic mites in Yunnan, China. MycoKeys 28:19-64. 10.3897/mycokeys.28.21758 PDF
Wingfield MJ, Barnes I, De Beer ZW, Roux J, Wingfield BD, Taerum SJ. (2017) Novel associations between ophiostomatoid fungi, insects and tree hosts: current status—future prospects. Biological Invasions 19:3215-3228. 10.1007/s10530-017-1468-3
Taerum SJ, Hoareau TB, Duong TA, De Beer ZW, Jankowiak R, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Putative origins of the fungus Leptographium procerum. Fungal Biology 121(1):82-94. 10.1016/j.funbio.2016.09.007
Wingfield MJ, Garnas JR, Hajek A, Hurley BP, de Beer ZW, Taerum SJ. (2016) Novel and co-evolved associations between insects and microorganisms as drivers of forest pestilence. Biological Invasions 18(4):1045-1056. 10.1007/s10530-016-1084-7
Taerum SJ, Konečný A, de Beer ZW, Cibrian-Tovar D, Wingfield MJ. (2016) Population genetics and symbiont assemblages support different invasion scenarios for the red turpentine beetle (Dendroctonus valens). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 118(3):486-502. 10.1111/bij.12781 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Beirn LA, Crouch JA, Demers JE, De Beer ZW, De Vos L, Gordon TR, Moncalvo JM, Naidoo K, Sanchez-Ramirez S, Roodt D, Santana QC, Slinksi SL, Stata M, Taerum SJ, Wilken PM, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genomes of Amanita jacksonii, Ceratocystis albifundus, Fusarium circinatum, Huntiella omanensis, Leptographium procerum, Rutstroemia sydowiana, and Sclerotinia echinophila. IMA Fungus 5(2):473-486. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.02.11 PDF
Taerum SJ, Duong TA, De Beer ZW, Gillette N, Sun J, Owen DR, Wingfield MJ. (2013) Large shift in symbiont assemblage in the invasive red turpentine beetle. PLoS ONE 8(10):e78126. 10.1126/science.aac6674 PDF
Taerum SJ, Cafaro MJ, Currie CR. (2010) Presence of multiparasite infections within individual colonies of leaf-cutter ants. Environmental Entomology 39(1):105-113.
Taerum SJ CM. (2007) Low host−pathogen specificity in the leaf-cutting ant−microbe symbiosis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274:1971-1978. 10.1098/rspb.2007.0431