Plant Pathology Faculty

Erica Goss

Erica Goss - UF Plant Pathology
  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago, 2005
  • B.A. Biology, Wesleyan University, 1997
  • Curriculum Vitae


My research is on the origins, evolution, population structure, and migration of plant pathogens. I am also interested in the molecular evolution of virulence and host range as relates to the emergence of new pathogens. In addition to my appointment in the Department of Plant Pathology, I am a member of the interdisciplinary Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF.

The focus of research in the lab is on the genus Phytophthora, which includes a number of emerging plant pathogens. Phytophthora are Oomycetes, which share life history characteristics with fungi but are members of a distinct lineage of eukaryotes with diatoms and brown algae. They are responsible for some of the most economically and ecologically destructive plant diseases. Since the discovery of P. ramorum as the causal agent of sudden oak death in northern California in the late 1990s, the number of Phytophthora species has more than doubled as a result of monitoring efforts. But little is known about the origin or distribution of many Phytophthora species, or how many other potentially damaging Phytophthora remain undiscovered. We are interested in the processes behind the emergence of Phytophthora pathogens, both new diseases and new genotypes of existing pathogens.

We have recently begun studying the pathogen Pythium insidiosum, which is the only known mammalian pathogen in a genus better known for plant pathogens and soil saprophytes. It causes Pythiosis of dogs and horses in the Southeastern US and is common in North Central Florida. We are interested in the ecology and evolutionary origin of this unusual pathogen.

I teach PLP6621 Applied Population Genetics of Microbes, which is an intermediate level graduate course that introduces students to population genetics and hands-on analysis of data. I am also the instructor for ALS3923 CALS Honors Orientation, which prepares undergraduates in the College to write a thesis on independent research.


Marina Ascunce, PhD

Graduate students
Jianan Wang
Jackson Presser
Maria Ratti


  • Timilsina S, MO Jibrin, N Potnis, GV Minsavage, M Kebede, A Schwartz, R Bart, B Staskawicz, C Boyer, GE Vallad, O Pruvost, JB Jones, EM Goss (2015) Multilocus sequence analysis of xanthomonads causing bacterial spot of tomato and pepper reveals strains generated by recombination among species and recent global spread of Xanthomonas gardneri, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, in press.
  • Goss EM, JF Tabima, DEL Cooke, S Restrepo, WE Fry, GA Forbes, VJ Fieland, M Cardenas, and NJ Grünwald (2014) The Irish potato famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans originated in central Mexico rather than the Andes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111(24): 8791-8796.
  • Sharma K, EM Goss, ER Dickstein, ME Smith, F Southwick, AHC van Bruggen (2014) Exserohilum rostratum: characterization of a cross-kingdom pathogen. PLoS ONE 9(10): e108691.
  • Goss EM, CM Press, NJ Grünwald (2013) Evolution of RXLR-class effectors in the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, PLoS ONE 8(11): e79347.
  • Goss EM, N Potnis, JB Jones (2013) Grudgingly sharing their secrets: new insight into the evolution of plant pathogenic bacteria, New Phytologist 199: 630-632.
  • Cooke DEL, LM Cano, S Raffaele, RA Bain, LR Cooke, G Etherington, KL Deahl, RA Farrer, EM Gilroy, EM Goss, NJ Grünwald, I Hein, D MacLean, JW McNicol, E Randall, RF Oliva, MA Pel, DS Shaw, JN Squires, MC Taylor, VGAA Vleeshouwers, PRJ Birch, AK Lees, S Kamoun (2012) Genome analyses of an aggressive and invasive lineage of the Irish potato famine pathogen, PLoS Pathogens 8(10): e1002940.
  • Grünwald NJ, M Garbelotto, EM Goss, K Heungens, and S Prospero (2012) Emergence of the sudden oak death pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, Trends in Microbiology 20 (3): 131-138.
  • Grünwald NJ and EM Goss (2011) Evolution and population genetics of exotic and reemerging pathogens: Novel tools and approaches. Annual Review of Phytopathology 49: 249–67.
  • Goss EM, ME Cardenas, K Myers, GA Forbes, WE Fry, S Restrepo and NJ Grünwald (2011) The plant pathogen Phytophthora andina emerged via hybridization of an unknown Phytophthora species and the Irish Potato Famine pathogen, P. infestans. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24543.
  • Goss, EM, MM Larsen, A Vercauteren, S Werres, K Heungens, and NJ Grünwald (2011) Phytophthora ramorum in Canada: Evidence for migration within North America and from Europe. Phytopathology 101:166-171.
  • Goss, EM, MM Larsen, GA Chastagner, DR Givens, and NJ Grünwald (2009) Population genetic analysis infers migration pathways of Phytophthora ramorum in US nurseries. PLoS Pathogens 5: e1000583.
  • Grünwald NJ, EM Goss, et al. (2009) Standardizing the nomenclature for clonal lineages of the sudden oak death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, Phytopathology 99:792-795.
  • Goss, EM, I Carbone, NJ Grünwald (2009) Ancient isolation and independent evolution of the three clonal lineages of the exotic sudden oak death pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, Molecular Ecology 18: 1161-1174.
  • Goss, EM and J Bergelson (2007) Fitness consequences of infection of Arabidopsis thaliana with its natural bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas viridiflava, Oecologia 152: 71-81.
  • Goss, EM and J Bergelson (2006) Variation in resistance and virulence in the interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana and a bacterial pathogen, Evolution 60:1562–1573.
  • Araki, H, D Tian, EM Goss, K Jakob, S. S. Hallsdorsdottir, M Kreitman and J Bergelson (2006) Balancing selection on two pathogenicity islands in a pathogen of Arabidopsis, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103:5887-5892.
  • Goss, EM, M Kreitman, and J Bergelson (2005) Genetic diversity, recombination, and cryptic clades in Pseudomonas viridiflava infecting natural populations of Arabidopsis thaliana, Genetics 169:21-35.