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New website shares information about deadly tree pathogens
Date:2/2/2012

ALBANY, Calif.Sudden oak death, Port-Orford-cedar root disease and other deadly tree diseases caused by Phytophthora species (pronounced fy-TOF-ther-uhs) are threatening forest ecosystems worldwide. These microorganisms, which are related to algae and diatoms, spend part of their life cycle in soil or water but once they infect trees, they can kill them. A new web site, developed jointly by the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and Oregon State University, hopes to put knowledge and resources in the hands of scientists and land managers as they look for ways to fight these deadly diseases.

Some Phytophthoras have likely been introduced to forests through the planting of infested ornamental nursery plants, such as rhododendrons and Lawson's cypress. The diseases are difficult to control in part because infected plants show only indistinct leaf spots, which go unnoticed until the pathogen escapes a garden and kills a neighboring forest tree.

The Forest Phytophthoras of the World web site (www.forestphytophthoras.org/) is part of a worldwide effort to protect forests by preventing the spread of these exotic microbes. Information on forest Phytophthoras is currently scattered, making it difficult and time consuming for professionals to keep up with scientific literature, regulatory programs, management activities and educational materials on the topic.

Funded by the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, and created and maintained by Jennifer Parke at Oregon State University, the site will serve as an international resource where scientists, students, forest managers, regulators, policy makers and the public can share the latest information on species of Phytophthora that affect the world's forests.

The web site currently features profiles of 10 forest Phytophthora species and the diseases they caus
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Contact: Sherri Eng
sleng@fs.fed.us
510-559-6327
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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