Become a Pathogen Hunter

Become a pathogen hunter and contribute by:

  • Reporting a dying plant!
  • Submiting a sample!
  • Isolating a microorganism!
  • Maintaining pure cultures!
  • Attending workshops!
  • Developing laboratory skills!
  • Extracting DNA!
  • Helping describe new species!

Go Outdoors for Science

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Join us in the hunt for pathogens in the fynbos!

Pathogens are tiny organisms that cause disease. Think about the last time you were sick, or the last time you saw a sick/dying plant—what caused that? Most likely a pathogen! Don't worry, plant pathogens do not infect people.
Phytophthora is a group of plant pathogens. Phytophthora is the Greek term for 'plant destroyer' (Phyto=plant, phthora=destroyer). Species in this group are responsible for disease such as the Irish potato famine and Sudden Oak Death.
Phytophthora cinnamomi (a pathogen that was first described killing cinnamon trees) is already known to cause root disease of many Proteaceae species in the fynbos and it may be killing the silver trees around Table Mountain. Help us find out!

You could discover a species that has never been found before!

The fynbos is an amazing biome that contains many plant species which only grow in South Africa. Because of this, it is important to protect! Hunting pathogens is important for protecting the plants and animals in the fynbos!

Your discoveries will inform important decisions about conserving this biome!

Plant Destroyers Poster