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University of California
Capitol Corridor

Berkeley lab tracks Sudden Oak Death with citizen help

Scientists at UC Berkeley are using tree and plant samples collected by citizens over the past two years to document Bay Area infestations of Sudden Oak Death, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Last year we had about 240 participants and collected over 1,000 samples. These results were placed on a map so people can see where the positives are," UC Berkeley forest pathologist Matteo Garbelotto was quoted. "This is part of the solution. If we educate and involve individual property owners, we can make a really big difference."

The UC survey documents the following SOD spread:

  • In Atherton, Oakland, Hercules and Mill Valley
  • In Hercules-Pinole area, Orinda, Moraga and in Redwood Regional Park, Wildcat Canyon and Tilden Park
  • Creeping toward south Oakland
  • Recolonizing the Berkeley campus after it was thought to have been eliminated nine years ago
  • Moving southward and eastward along the Peninsula, infesting Woodside and Los Altos
  • All over Tamalpais Valley in Marin County
  • West of Healdsburg and Windsor in Sonoma County
  • In several trees on the edge of Carmel Valley Village
Garbelotto told reporter Peter Fimrite that Carmel Valley Village is a prime area for the disease to explode.

"The houses themselves are in the forest, so I can really see some potentially dangerous consequences," Garbelotto was quoted. "The people there don't really know what is going to hit them."

UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory organizes eight meetings a year it which it trains residents to identify and deal with sudden oak death. Sign up to participate online.

Discoloration characteristic of infection by Phytophthora ramorum, which causes SOD.
Discoloration characteristic of infection by Phytophthora ramorum, which causes SOD.

Posted on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM

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