Ep. 82: Zombie Cicadas, Fungivore Millipedes & Forest Pathology (feat. Dr. Matt Kasson)

Today on the Mushroom Hour Podcast we have the privilege of speaking with Dr. Matt Kasson, Associate Professor of Forest Pathology and Mycology at West Virginia University. Dr. Kasson received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the Pennsylvania State University where his research focused on using a native fungus, Verticillium nonalfalfae, as a biological control of the invasive tree, Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven). He also holds an A.A.S. from Paul Smiths College and a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Maine. His current research areas include fungal-arthropod interactions, biological control of invasive plants and pathogens, and the biology and ecology of historic and emerging diseases of forest trees. Dr. Kasson is currently the Director of the International Culture Collection of (Vesicular) Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (INVAM) and currently has research focused on the metabolites associated with interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and their plant partners. Dr. Kasson teaches undergraduate courses on general plant pathology and forest pest management and offers special topics courses for graduate students including advanced plant disease diagnostics.  


  • Origin as a Young Naturalist in Susquehanna  
  • Overview of Forest Pathology and Fungal Pathogens  
  • Chestnut Blight, Dutch Elm Disease, Laurel Vascular Wilt  
  • Reproductive Strategies of Pathogenic Fungi  
  • Fungal Pathogens as a Bio-control Agent  
  • The Precautionary Principle  
  • Changing Environments & the Emergence of Pathogenic Disease  
  • Adaptive, Facultative Capacities of Fungi  
  • Massospora Fungi & Zombie Cicadas  
  • Discovery of Psilocybin & Amphetamine in Massospora-Infected Cicadas  
  • Future Research into Massospora Effects on Cicadas  
  • Fungus Feeding Millipedes as Biodiversity Hotspots  
  • Meeting the Team in the Kasson Lab at West Virginia University  
  • Sage Advice for Academic Pursuits into Mycology  


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