Citizen Science Uncovers Phytophthora ramorum as a Threat to Several Rare or Endangered California Manzanita Species.Plant Dis. 2020 Dec; 104(12):3173-3182.PD
The Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Blitzes consist of yearly surveys led by citizen scientists designed to map the distribution of Phytophthora ramorum, cause of the forest disease called SOD, across northern California. During the 2017 Santa Cruz County SOD Blitz, six rare or endangered Arctostaphylos (manzanita) species were found to be possibly symptomatic for the first time. Symptoms included branch cankers and associated canopy mortality, and affected multiple individuals per species. Isolates of P. ramorum were obtained from each of the six species and, through a 30-day-long inoculation experiment on live plants, Koch's postulates were completed for each one of them, conclusively determining that they all are hosts of this pathogen. Two additional manzanita species were later found to be apparently symptomatic in Marin County. Inoculations on detached branches using an isolate of P. ramorum obtained from one of the six rare species from Santa Cruz County were successful, suggesting that these two species may also be hosts of P. ramorum. Detached leaves of all eight species were also successfully inoculated at the University of California-Berkeley in fall 2018 and then again in spring 2019. In these cases, the same isolate was used for all inoculations, in order to obtain information on the comparative susceptibility of the eight species in question. Both branch and leaf inoculations identified significant interspecific differences in susceptibility. The production of sporangia was low on all species but it was not zero, suggesting that sporulation may cause within-plant and limited across-plant contagion, especially in rainy years.