Coffee rust has ravaged Latin American plantations for several years, leading to reductions in annual coffee production of up to 30 percent in some countries and threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers in the region. Image credit: Michigan News - International.

Listen in to Professors John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto on Michigan Radio’s Stateside with Cynthia Canty, which aired November 16, 2015.

Vandermeer, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Perfecto, a professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, discuss a fungus called “coffee rust” that is attacking coffee plants throughout Mexico and Central America. In recent years, the fungus has caused over $1 billion in crop losses and cost thousands of workers their jobs.

The two University of Michigan professors have been studying the coffee ecosystems in Mexico for 17 years.

Michigan Radio Stateside podcast