Sudden Oak Death Kentucky Forest Survey

  • Hartman, J. (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Sudden oak death disease, caused by the fungus-like pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, occurs in U.S. west coast forests. During recent years P. ramorum has been transported to many eastern states on nursery stock and may have been transported on soil adhering to hikers' boots and car tires. Many of Kentucky's forests grow in areas considered to be at high risk for infection should the pathogen be introduced into Kentucky. We have been asked by the U.S. Forest Service and the Kentucky Division of Forestry to conduct a survey of Kentucky forests for the presence of the fungus P. ramorum, cause of sudden oak death disease. The survey will involve collecting symptomatic foliage from forest understory plants (which can harbor P. ramorum) and from oaks. Within U.S. Forest Service-defined geographic sample collection polygons (about two counties in size in high risk areas) specific sample collection locations will be determined by us and the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Additional collections will be made from fence rows and wooded areas surrounding certain nurseries which may have received contaminated plants. Global positioning technology will be used to identify and record specific sample locations. Samples will be analyzed in our laboratory and simultaneously at a U.S. Forest Service laboratory in Mississippi by use of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay specific for P. ramorum. Accurate record-keeping of sample locations and PCR results will be essential so that if the pathogen is detected, federal officials can take steps to eradicate the disease. The bulk of the work will be carried out by a temporary Research Specialist and two summer student workers who will assist in the field and laboratory. The bulk of the research involving sample collection will be done off-campus and the laboratory assays will be done in the U.K. Plant Pathology Department.
Effective start/end date4/1/0512/31/05


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