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Population Dynamics of Aerial and Terrestrial Populations of Phytophthora ramorum in a California Forest Under Different Climatic Conditions

November 2013 , Volume 103 , Number  11
Pages  1,141 - 1,152

C. A. Eyre, M. Kozanitas, and M. Garbelotto

Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 54 Mulford Hall, University of California, Berkeley 94720.

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Accepted for publication 20 May 2013.

Limited information is available on how soil and leaf populations of the sudden oak death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, may differ in their response to changing weather conditions, and their corresponding role in initiating the next disease cycle after unfavorable weather conditions. We sampled and cultured from 425 trees in six sites, three times at the end of a 3-year-long drought and twice during a wet year that followed. Soil was also sampled twice with similar frequency and design used for sampling leaves. Ten microsatellites were used for genetic analyses on cultures from successful isolations. Results demonstrated that incidence of leaf infection tripled at the onset of the first wet period in 3 years in spring 2010, while that of soil populations remained unchanged. Migration of genotypes among sites was low and spatially limited under dry periods but intensity and range of migration of genotypes significantly increased for leaf populations during wet periods. Only leaf genotypes persisted significantly between years, and genotypes present in different substrates distributed differently in soil and leaves. We conclude that epidemics start rapidly at the onset of favorable climatic conditions through highly transmissible leaf genotypes, and that soil populations are transient and may be less epidemiologically relevant than previously thought.

Additional keywords: genetic diversity, genetic structure, multilocus genotypes.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society