Visualizing Sudden Oak Death

The online conference of the California Oak Mortality Task Force
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 Add to the Sudden Oak Death Timeline

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susan frankel

Posts : 2
Join date : 2013-10-25

PostSubject: Add to the Sudden Oak Death Timeline   Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:06 pm

We started a Sudden Oak Death/Phytophthora ramorum timeline and would like to know what you think needs to be added.  To view the timeline, follow this link:

What sudden oak death/Phytophthora ramorum finding or significant development would you add to the timeline? Why?
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Posts : 5
Join date : 2014-02-12
Location : Eureka, California

PostSubject: Addition for Humboldt County SOD Timeline   Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:54 pm

According to information available from the California Oak Mortality Task Force and communication with Yana Valachovic (who was around and involved then), infected California bay laurel trees were first confirmed, and Humboldt thus added to the list of quarantined counties, in July, 2002. This first infestation was found in a few backyards in Redway.

In 2004, the first appreciable P. ramorum-caused tanoak mortality was mapped by the US Forest Service Aerial Pest Detection unit; about 125 acres contained tanoak mortality at that time, distributed patchily over an area of about 9 square miles in the Redway vicinity. A cumulative total of nearly 27,000 acres with SOD-related tanoak mortality have now been mapped in Humboldt County via aerial detection (with regular ground-check efforts to confirm pathogen presence by lab test). The majority of this mortality, is scattered across a contiguous area of about 360 square miles.

This comment probably has too much detail for the timeline, but I find it useful to understand how quickly the pathogen can spread through areas with a fairly regular distribution of forest hosts (in this case, primarily California bay laurel and tanoak). Of course, while it seems plausible that this southern Humboldt area could have been infested as a result of natural spread after an initial introduction of an infected nursery plant(s) to Redway, we cannot discount a possibility that multiple events of infected-plant introductions have occurred and resulted in the pattern of forest infestation we see today.
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Janice Alexander

Posts : 15
Join date : 2013-10-25

PostSubject: Re: Add to the Sudden Oak Death Timeline   Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Brendan's comment reminds me of a conversation I had with an educator about how to convey scientific information. As scientists, we understand how the finer details can be hugely important in understanding an issue and taking action. As educators, we realize that clear and concise information is the most valuable to affecting change with the general public.

Personally, I love the challenge of condensing these details without losing the important points. The details we choose to include then make the story we're telling. Is it a story about the quickness of spread (as Brendan writes), the relative effectiveness of regulatory actions, research breakthroughs, public awareness and funding, or something else? Maybe we need multiple timelines to tell multiple stories, depending on our audience.
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