Diseases play a key role in plant evolution and biodiversity. On the positive side, they can increase diversity by driving evolution and structuring communities. On the negative, disease outbreaks, especially of newly introduced diseases, can devastate plant communities and lead to species extinctions. Fungi that live in close association with plants likewise span a continuum of effects, from mycorrhizal associates that help plants take up nutrients from the soil to virulent pathogens. From a practical viewpoint, good health is critical in preserving RBGE’s living collections.
RBGE has an active research program in topics related to plant health, including the preservation of fungal biodiversity, and expertise in plant health and horticulture. Explore these pages to find out about our research program and the importance of plant health to the Garden and to Scottish biodiversity, and follow links to learn more.