Ash dieback: Research, funding and policy news - 17 October 2013

17th Oct 2013

Ash dieback: A scientific update

As of the 7th October, the Forestry Commission reported that Chalara fraxinea- the deadly fungus ravaging European ash trees- is now present at 585 sites throughout the UK, including 15 English counties. But while Chalara is unfortunately continuing to spread further throughout Europe, the work from governments, science and the public has been increasing, providing new avenues for future action and research opportunities.

 

South Korea seeds will ‘help arboretum understand ash dieback’

A trip to South Korea to collect seeds for new trees at Westonbirt Arboretum at Tetbury could enhance understanding of ash dieback, its director has said.

 

Scientists map UK ash tree genome

UK scientists have mapped the genome of the British ash tree, in research to find a way to protect woodlands from a deadly fungus. The genomic data is available at www.ashgenome.org

 

How I discovered ash dieback (and what we’re doing about it

Video feature spans discovery of the killer tree fungus to open source efforts to fight it.

 

Strategy focuses on UK broadleaved trees’ future

An official strategy that aims to protect the UK’s broadleaved tree species has been unveiled this week. The strategy has been developed by Forest Research and two charities, the Earth Trust and Future Trees Trust.

Download the full strategy from the Earth Trust website

 

Britain’s ash trees face threat from emerald ash borer

After wiping out 10s of millions of ash trees in North America, the emerald ash borer is on its way to Britain. Dr Stephen Woodward, a professor at the University of Aberdeen, has revealed the small green beetles have arrived in Moscow and will reach our shores in 15-20 years, if not sooner.

 

Dieback in the UK: A Wake-Up Call

The confirmation of ash dieback, caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, in English woodlands in October 2012 provided a deafening wake-up call for many people. Foresters, scientists, plant health regulation, politicians and others were jolted upright by the threat of trees dying across the UK, abruptly made aware that tree health as a discipline was itself in decline. What scientific capacity was available to study tree diseases and develop solutions? Was the UK prepared for ash dieback? Could have done better is the cruel answer. The arrival of this ‘new’ disease should not have been a surprise. Ash dieback was well-known from a steady advance across Europe. Confirmation that it had finally got to the UK has however had at least one positive effect: a timely reminder to be more vigilant. A dying subject (tree health) has been resurrected though it is still too early to say what the long term consequences for research and guaranteed support will be.

 

Living with ash dieback in continental Europe: the present situation and long-term experience

29 November 2013, 9.00 to 18.00
The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF

This conference will provide an opportunity for British stakeholders to benefit from experiences of ash dieback in continental Europe. Speakers will include scientists working on ash dieback in France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Latvia, Austria and Lithuania. This meeting is supported and organised by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology action FRAXBACK (FRAXBACK FP1103 COST Action).

 

Recent posts on the OpenAshDieback crowdsourcing hub:

Variant analysis of different isolates and fruiting bodies of Chalara fraxinea

Metagenomic analysis of Fraxinus excelsior, Chalara fraxinea and infected material

SNP patterns in various isolates of Chalara fraxinea

Analysis of the Chalara genome suggests that it is AT repeat rich

Lignin degrading enzymes in the Chalara genome assembly

 

If you have details of meetings, research, funding or policy news on ash dieback that you would like circulating, please email them to mimitanimoto@societyofbiology.org

 

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