Announcing: Torreya – Tree of Life event!

The Florida Torreya, Torreya taxifolia, is in grave danger of disappearing from the wild. It’s range has shrunk to three counties on the Florida-Georgia border north of Tallahassee. Given this last opportunity to learn about the natural biome of a rare and beautiful conifer, a team of biologists will assemble at Torreya State Park on March 1-2, 2018. Experts will sample and survey the ecosystem associated with T. taxifolia from soil microbiology to flora and fauna.

More information concerning the event is available here…

Torreya Tree of Life

 

FBRC annual meeting at Austin Cary

Today Dr. Hulcr, Dr. Smith and Dr. Carton de Grammont are at the Forest Biology Research Cooperative annual meeting talking about Forest Health and the role that ProForest plays in furthering collaborative research, extension and education.
The meeting is at the beautiful Austin Cary Memorial Forest. Just a reminder of how a #health #managed #forest looks!

Redbay planting at Ordway-Swisher Biological Station

It was a cold and rainy north central Florida December day, but that didn’t slow down restoration planting of redbay seedlings at a protected site near Gainesville, FL. Strains of redbay that have displayed resistance to the laurel wilt pathogen were planted in the cool wet weather. They will be studied in the effort to save Persea borbonia populations across the southeast by reintroducing tolerant germplasm.

Survey at Torreya State Park

Biologists from the Florida Park Service and US FWS, conservation researchers from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, local volunteers and the UF/SFRC Forest Pathology lab gathered in the panhandle of Florida on steep ravines near the Apalachicola River to survey pockets of the wild population of Torreya taxifolia.  Most of the previously mapped trees were found surviving and a new recruitment seedling was reported! However damage from deer browse was also noted, and surviving trees could not be described as thriving for the most part. It was a beautiful day to explore the habitat of this relict conifer, and to give thanks that we can play a role in learning about its place in the natural history of this area.

No rest for the laurels: symbiotic invaders cause unprecedented damage to southern USA forests

Laurel wilt is an extraordinarily destructive exotic tree disease in the southeastern United States that involves new-encounter hosts in the Lauraceae, an introduced vector (Xyleborus glabratus) and pathogen symbiont (Raffaelea lauricola). USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis data were used to estimate that over 300 million trees of redbay (Persea borbonia sensu lato) have succumbed to the disease since the early 2000s (ca 1/3 of the pre-invasion population). In addition, numerous native shrub and tree species in the family are susceptible and  threatened in the Western Hemisphere. Genetic markers were used to test the hypothesis that the vector and pathogen entered North America as a single introduction. With a portion of the cytochrome oxidase I gene, a single Xglabratus haplotype was detected in the USA. Similarly, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms indicated that 95% (54 of 57) of the isolates of Rlauricola that were examined were of a single clonal genotype; only minor variation was detected in three polymorphic isolates. Similar levels of disease developed after swamp bay (Ppalustris) was inoculated with each of the four genotypes of Rlauricola. It is proposed that a single founding event is responsible for the laurel wilt epidemic in the United States.

Biological Invasions, July 2017, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 2143–2157

Visiting botanist to speak on the biodiversity of New Caledonia.

Please join us for a seminar on Tuesday, October 31, at 12:30, by Gildas Gateble, from Institut Agronomique neo-Caledonien. The title of his talk will be: “An overview of New Caledonia’s plant biodiversity: Origins, characteristics, and threats, with a focus on the genus Oxera” . The seminar is co-sponsored by the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the UF Biodiversity Institute.


Cold tolerance range of Redbay Ambrosia Beetle overlaps range of Sassafras albidum.

Symptoms of Redbay Ambrosia Beetle attack (photo credit Marc Hughes)

Formby, J.P., Rodgers, J.C., Koch, F.H. et al. Biol Invasions (2017).

Native Lauraceae (e.g. sassafras, redbay) in the southeastern USA are being severely impacted by laurel wilt disease, which is caused by the pathogen Raffaelea lauricola T. C. Harr., Fraedrich and Aghayeva, and its symbiotic vector, the redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus Eichhoff). Cold temperatures are currently the only viable limitation to the establishment of X. glabratus in northern populations of sassafras…