Cubeta, Marc A

Entomology and Plant Pathology
919-513-0024 fax
Faculty Profile Login

My laboratory is interested in understanding the ecology and population genetics of soil fungi that cause plant disease. The ultimate goal of my research program is to generate science-based knowledge that will result in the deployment of improved disease management approaches that reduce economic losses to plant disease while promoting increased productivity, sustainability and plant health. For many years we have studied the soil fungus Rhizoctonia solani, which is an economically important pathogen of agricultural and forestry crops throughout the world. However, the fungus can also infect non-cultivated species of plants in natural ecosystems and is of ecological importance as a recycler of nutrients in soil. Research conducted in my laboratory has provided a conceptual framework for identifying species of R. solani to better define populations to advance our understanding of the evolutionary history and disease ecology of the fungus. Our research suggests that R. solani is not a single species, but is a genetically diverse assemblage of species that represent an important early diverging and transitional group of the mushroom forming fungi. Current research in my lab is focused on the use of “omic”-based methods to better understand the genetic basis of how R. solani produces microsclerotia, which are structures that promote long-term survival of the fungus in soil in absence of a plant host. More recently we have been involved in the study of Rhizoctonia fungi associated with terrestrial species of orchids. These fungi benefit orchids by increasing seed germination and seedling growth. Information generated from this collaborative research project is being used to develop improved approaches to conserve terrestrial species of orchids native to the US.

  Plant Genomics and Genetics | Soil Microbiology | Plant Pathology
Country(s) of experience:
  Costa Rica | Japan | Philippines | Sweden
Type(s) of International Experience:
  Researcher in an international project | Instructor at an academic institution overseas | Speaker at an international conference | Visiting faculty | Advisor for international students | Host for international faculty | Host for international post-doc
  Sabbatical - Sweden
Year: 2012
Country: Sweden

  Survey and comparative detection of the Rhizoctonia fungi associated with vascular streak dieback disease in cacao-growing areas of the Philippines
09/30/2015 - 09/29/2017
Funding Agency/Sponsor: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Institutional Partner: University of the Philippines Los Baños
  Fungal communities and species of Rhizoctonia associated with orchid soils in Sweden
01/01/2011 - 12/31/2012
Funding Agency/Sponsor: Fulbright Scholar Program
Institutional Partner: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden
  Mycena infection of coffee
01/01/2010 - 01/01/2010
Funding Agency/Sponsor:
Institutional Partner: Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)
  Genetic diversity of Rhizoctonia fungi
01/01/2002 - 12/31/2003
Funding Agency/Sponsor: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Institutional Partner: Hokkaido University, Japan