We are working with four pathogens which cause disease on cheatgrass. All of them appear to be important players in the die-off phenomenon that has been observed in areas where cheatgrass is the dominant species.
Pyrenophora semeniperda is a pathogen which infects many species of temperate grasses, including cheatgrass. When it infects cheatgrass it extrudes long, black stroma from the diseased seed as shown in the photo from Susan Meyer shown to the right. For this reason we commonly call the fungus black fingers of death or just BFOD for short. It is closely related to the foliar pathogens Pyrenophora tritici-repentis and Pyrenophora teres which are responsible for tan spot disease in wheat and net-blotch disease in barley, respectively. In 2014, we published genome assembly and annotation results from DNA sequence data. Our assembly is available through GenBank.