I study a fungus that turns cicadas into ‘flying salt shakers of death’—AMA!
EDIT: Thanks so much for your questions! I had a lot of fun answering them, but I’ve gotta run now.
Hi! I’m Dr. Matt Kasson, a mycologist/plant pathologist and Associate Professor in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences at West Virginia University. I also serve as director of the International Culture Collection of (Vesicular) Arbuscular Mychorrhizal Fungi (INVAM)—the world's largest collection of its kind, which is housed at WVU. My specialty is fungal biocontrol, tree canker diseases, and fungus-arthropod interactions. I also study fungus-cicada interactions and fungus-ambrosia beetle interactions. In addition to my work with cicadas, as a 2021 National Geographic Explorer, I focus on exploring and characterizing fungal biodiversity associated with fungus feeding millipedes, which represent some of the earliest land animals. Looking forward to your questions!
Additional information on me can be found here: https://on.natgeo.com/3udZLDt
And for more information about my work with millipedes, click here: https://on.natgeo.com/3wuc1kR
Hear from me on the latest episode of National Geographic’s Overheard podcast: https://on.natgeo.com/3uflgUJ