Shannon Colleen Lynch, Center for Conservation Biology, University of California, Riverside, 92521;
Paul J. Zambino, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, San Bernardino, CA 92408; and
Joey Sal Mayorquin,
Danny Ho Wang, and
Akif Eskalen, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside 92521
A decline of coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) has been observed throughout southern California. In this study, the identity and pathogenicity of non-Botryosphaeriaceae fungal species consistently recovered from necrotic tissues of branch and bleeding trunk canker samples from these locations were assessed. Species were identified morphologically and by comparison of the complete sequence of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of the ribosomal DNA to sequences available in GenBank. Phylogenetic analyses were then conducted using ITS and partial sequences of the β-tubulin and mitochondrial small ribosomal subunit genes for unknown species. Fungi recovered and identified included Fusarium solani, Phaeoacremonium mortoniae, Diatrypella verrucaeformis, and a fungus described herein as Cryptosporiopsis querciphila sp. nov. One-year-old coast live oak seedlings were wound inoculated under controlled conditions to test pathogenicity of the fungal species. Each fungal species was successfully reisolated from necrotic tissue at 70 and 100% for P. mortoniae and all other species, and xylem necrosis was significantly different between all treatments and controls (P < 0.0001 at α = 0.05). Isolates of F. solani were the most aggressive tested. These species represent new records of fungal pathogens of coast live oak in California. Results from the pathogenicity test suggest that these fungi play a role in the decline of southern California coast live oak trees.