Imagine yourself completely contained; isolated and breathing a limited amount of oxygen, all while some potentially infectious pathogens lie on-board with you. Well, while it might not be Pandora’s box or a strain of the Ebola virus, this scenario is a frighteningly real study for researchers on the International Space Station.
With recent news of vampire-like parasitic plants and the West African outbreak of Ebola, it has become ever-apparent that disease and pestilence can take a serious toll on every species including humans. But have you given much thought to what could be threatening your morning cup of joe? Throughout most of Central America, in regions prime for coffee plantations, lies a fungus who also happens to love its morning brew. Thought to have originated in the coffee plantations of Africa, Hemileia vastatrix more commonly known as “roya” is a pestilent fungus known to cause disease in the species Coffea arabica—otherwise known as coffee.
Hunted to extinction in 1924 as a result of government programs designed to protect livestock in the central valley, the California Gray Wolf (scientific name Canis lupus) has become all but an urban legend in the state that decimated its large populations.