Research Topics: Invasive Species
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Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum)
Photo courtesy USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Protection
Since the mid-1990s, Phytophthora ramorum, the exotic plant pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death, has killed millions of oak and tanoak trees, and millions more are infected in 14 coastal California counties and one county in southwestern Oregon. P. ramorum also causes a leaf or twig blight on over 100 plant species, including popular ornamental plants, such as rhododendrons and camellias. With many of these popular ornamental host plants being shipped nationally and internationally, there is concern over inadvertent pathogen transport and introduction. In the United States, European Union, Canada and many other countries, federal and state quarantines are in effect to prevent pathogen hitch-hiking on plant materials.
The USDA-FS, Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) Sudden Oak Death/Phytophthora ramorum research program began in December 2002, with support from the Washington Office, and funding from Congress, for a national research program to address the emerging threat of sudden oak death. The research program has aggressively investigated key issues associated with this quarantine pathogen, providing findings to support decision-making by land managers, arborists, homeowners, regulators, nurserymen, policy makers, and others.
Because this quarantine pathogen was new to science, most research was initially conducted in California, where the disease occurred in the natural environment. The PSW adopted a peer-reviewed, grant-based approach to provide a nimble mechanism by which the program direction could evolve as researchers answered early questions and new ones arose. Over the past eight years, more than $11.5 million in research has been supported (including some funds provided by the state of California). Approximately 40 agreements are currently in place at 20 organizations in eight states, the UK, and Germany.
Goals and objectives. The USDA-FS, PSW SOD Research Program is an applied research program aimed at serving the needs of stakeholders impacted by P. ramorum, and organizations and individuals seeking to protect natural, economic, and social resources by prevention of the pathogen's introduction or establishment. Additionally, the program aims to prevent the initiation of new damaging biological invasions by elucidating the lessons learned from this epidemic and by evaluating the risks of Phytophthoras to US forests, communities, and industries
These goals are being fulfilled through the following objectives:
- Develop methods and strategies to prevent, treat, manage, and mitigate the impacts of P. ramorum, and respond to the hazards it creates;
- Improve early detection and monitoring methods for SOD and related diseases; and
- Elucidate the ecological, economic, and social impacts of P. ramorum and other forest Phytophthora species.
Request for Proposals
The PSW 2010 Request for Proposals for Sudden Oak Death/Phytophthora ramorum research competitively awarded approximately $500,000. The 2010 funding list provides details.
The 2010 Request for Proposals closed in March 2010. For your information, complete instructions for submission of the 2010 RFP are provided here. For more information contact Susan Frankel, Sudden Oak Death/Phytophthora ramorum Research Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-559-6472.
Sudden Oak Death Science Symposia
- Frankel, Susan J.; Kliejunas, John T.; Palmieri, Katharine M. 2010. Proceedings of the Sudden Oak Death Fourth Science Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-229. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 378 p.
- Sudden Oak Death Fourth Science Symposium held June 15-18, 2009 in Santa Cruz
- Frankel, Susan J.; Kliejunas, John T.; Palmieri, Katharine M., tech. coords. 2008. Proceedings of the sudden oak death third science symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-214, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 491 p.
- SOD Science III - Website
Sudden Oak Death Science Third Science Symposium
March 5-9, 2007
Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa, California
- Frankel, Susan J.; Shea, Patrick J.; Haverty, Michael I., tech. coord. 2006. Proceedings of the sudden oak death second science symposium: the state of our knowledge. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-196. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station; 571 p.
- SOD Science II - Website
Abstracts available through sessions list
- SOD Science I - December 2002, pdf of Abstracts, 1 MB