Beech Leaf Disease: Investigating Tree Health in American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) is a growing threat to the ecology of forested ecosystems across the Northeast. Since 2012, the disease has spread to over 10 states and almost every county in Pennsylvania, decimating the beech stands present in the region. With a high tree mortality rate, improving our understanding of this disease is important for future mitigation efforts and to safeguard biodiversity. Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is home to forest-types with beech as a predominate species, especially in lower canopy growth. Additionally, most of these forests are post-Beech Bark Disease (BBD) aftermath forests, with new growth that may be resilient against BBD. This project increases the understanding of the disease in two parts: 1.) surveying the ANF to evaluate disease distribution and severity across the region and 2.) characterizing the microbial communities of different leaf tissues to evaluate changes in community composition on leaves with different symptoms. Microbes have the potential to inhibit or exacerbate disease severity and they can interact with their host, pathogens, and other microbes. Through characterizing these microbes, we can begin to hypothesize their function and inform the direction of future studies. As a rapidly spreading and ecologically devastating disease, understanding disease dynamics of BLD is of high priority to a wide variety of stakeholders from local landowners to forest resource companies.
|Beech Leaf Disease: Investigating Tree Health in American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
|CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)
|March 24, 2023
|April 10, 2023
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