RESOURCES: Death in the Woods

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Science  18 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5751, pp. 1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5751.1099a

The killer stalking the cool, damp forests of the U.S. West Coast sounds familiar: a rootless drifter that slays silently and often gets around by hitchhiking. The wrongdoer is the funguslike parasite Phytophthora ramorum, which causes sudden oak death and has attacked oaks and other woodland plants in 14 counties in California and one in southern Oregon. This site from the California Oak Mortality Task Force features a chronology and maps that track P. ramorum; the organism first appeared in 1995, and its origins are unknown. Visitors can also learn how to diagnose infestations and read about the pest's impact on U.S. nurseries. A gallery of species felled by the pathogen includes an aerial photo of dying and dead tanoaks in California's Los Padres National Forest near Monterey.

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