1) Rust Fungi
Write a short essay of 250–300 words (no more). It must be typed.
Answer these questions in your essay (not individual answers to the questions):
- Explain what the term heteroecious refers to for rust fungi.
- Explain how the repeating stage spores (urediniospores) are different from any of the other four kinds of rust spores.
- Explain why removing the host plant with the repeating stage is the most effective biological control for rust diseases.
- Speculate about why rust fungi may have evolved to have heteroecious life cycles.
2) The Threat of Ug99
You have recently graduated and are now working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Your boss has asked you to write a report on the threat to the U.S. and world wheat crops from the new, virulent Ug99 race of stem rust, caused by
Puccinia graminis f. sp.
tritici. This fungus has been listed by DHS as a plant-pathogenic fungus that could potentially be used in agroterrorism, but the threat it poses has been minimized in recent years because there have not been any major outbreaks. DHS is considering shifting funds from other projects to make them available for research on Ug99.
Should Ug99 be a priority for DHS, or should funding go to more immediate agroterrorism threats? Are there other reasons to fund research on Ug99? Write a short paper (~ 350 words) on this topic.
Here are some questions to consider:
- In the past and today, how important has wheat and stem rust been in the United States? In the world?
- What is the source of primary inoculum in the United States, and how does the fungus survive and spread?
- What are the current management strategies for wheat stem rust in the United States? In the world?
- What is the origin of the Ug99 race, and what impact has it had?
- What are the current predictions for the spread and impact of Ug99?
- What is the likelihood that Ug99 will reach the United States, and what would its impact be?
- What are the current and potential management strategies for Ug99?
- Opinion papers such as this can be written in several drafts: Draft 1 (evaluated but not graded) summarizes the facts; draft 2 (also evaluated but not graded) incorporates the student’s opinion, supported by the facts; and draft 3 is a polished version of draft 2, which is finally graded. Students appreciate the opportunity to get feedback on their writing and thinking before being assigned a grade. This system also provides an opportunity for students to learn to separate facts from opinions and to evaluate the biases of different sources of information.
- You can provide students with a reference list (including links), so that this is an exercise in evaluating and using information, rather than finding it. Extra credit can be given for sources with new information that students find and use in their papers.
Evaluation of the Paper:
Criteria Used in Evaluation can Include the Following:
- Accuracy and completeness of factual information
- Development and support of opinion
- Overall organization and clarity
- Mechanics (e.g., spelling, grammar, sentence structure)
- Use of supporting references
Important Note: This paper has no “right” or “wrong” conclusion. The student can take either side of the issue (pro–Ug99 funding or anti–Ug99 funding), include the pertinent facts, and use them to support his or her position.