Tracks of an Oak Killer

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About the Author: Erin Loury
B.S. (biology) University of California, Davis
M.S. (marine science) California State University/Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Los Angeles Times (Kaiser Family Foundation health reporting internship)

This story on sudden oak death was my final project for the graduate program in science communication at UC Santa Cruz. It was a wonderful opportunity to delve into a topic that I previously knew so little about. I was fascinated to learn about the waterborne disease organism, the role of bay laurels as carriers, and the ability to protect a tree with Agri-fos. I am very thankful to Matteo Garbelotto for making this story possible. Matteo’s willingness to talk at length about the disease was crucial in helping me develop my understanding. My eye-opening trip into the field to see sudden oak death up close also helped me frame the story. I greatly enjoyed attending a SOD Blitz to record material for the podcast that accompanies the story. Reporting and writing this feature has helped deepen my appreciation for the beauty, fragility, and importance of oak trees.


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