Rapid '‘hi'a Death: Insects associated with infected trees and potential vectors of the causative agent, Ceratocystis fimbriata

Tuesday, April 5, 2016: 10:44 AM
Neptune Room (Pacific Beach Hotel)
Curtis Ewing , Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai'i Manoa, Hilo, HI
Ishakh Pulakkatu-Thodi , Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai'i Manoa, Hilo, HI
J.B. Friday , Dept. Natural Resources and Environmental Management, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai'i Manoa, Hilo, HI
Gordon Bennett , Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai'i Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Rapid 'Ōhi'a Death (ROD) is a newly emerging fungal disease on the Big Island of Hawai'i with the potential to eliminate 'ōhi'a as a dominant forest tree species. ROD is caused by the fungal plant pathogen Ceratocystis fimbriata that may be spread by forest insects that reside within wood or that feed on infected tree saps. However, the role of these insects in the emergence and spread of ROD on Hawai'i Island is unknown. In order to understand the spread of this potentially catastrophic disease we are surveying insects associated with dead and dying 'ōhi'a trees infected with the causative agent Ceratocystis fimbriata. Specimens have been reared from sections taken from felled trees and trapped within stands of dead and dying trees. Potential vectors are being screened for the presence of C. fimbriata using culture and molecular techniques.