Chestnut blight disease virtually wiped out the native American chestnut from eastern North American hardwood forests more than a hundred years ago. The tree continues to regenerate from sprout clumps and occasionally reseed, but the pathogen that caused the epidemic, the filamentous fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, is still present in the forest and continues to suppress trees. In some forest areas in New Jersey, chestnut appears to be recovering. If recovery continues and the number of chestnut trees continues to increase, approaches to managing these forests may change. This project will examine components of that recovery process.In this project, we will accurately map chestnut trees in three protected park areas to develop a first comprehensive snapshot of chestnut populations for comparison over time. These maps and data will be available to our group and others to examine progress of the population through succeeding years. To gain a better understanding of natural biological factors that may contribute to pathogen suppression and therefore tree survival, we will catalogue the microbes - viruses, bacteria, and other fungi - that are associated with dying trees and surviving trees in these populations, and test whether some of these microbes have an antagonistic effect on the chestnut blight fungus itself. Information from this project may change our thinking about approaches to biological control of fungal pathogens in forest settings.
|Effective start/end date||9/15/14 → 6/30/17|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))