ESPM 150/290 Spring 2024

Ecology & Impacts of Emergent Forest Diseases in California

For Class Primary Zoom Link – In the event of stream failure use the Alternate Zoom Link code: 586155

Class Schedule & Other Important details

This class will have a unique schedule. Class is offered two Thursdays and a weekend. Class times are:

  • Thursday, April 4th 3-5pm on Zoom. Zoom link. Login to first, then join class zoom
  • Saturday, April 6th. In person Hearst Field Annex Room B1 (HFAXB1) 8.30 am sharp to 5 pm.   Lunch break: 12:10-1:15
  • Sunday, April 7th. In person Hearst Field Annex Room B5 (HFAXB5) 8.30 am sharp to 5 pm.   Lunch break: 12:10-1:15
  • Thursday, April 11th  3-5pm on Zoom. Zoom link. Login to first, then join class zoom


Given the short nature of the course you may take the final exam twice, if you wish to do so.  Exams are online  and will not be identical, but of course will cover the same topics. The best grade between the two will count as the base of your final grade. You can improve your final grade by one step by writing  a 3 to 5-page paper on one of the topics listed on the website.

  1. 1st Final, Thursday May 2nd, 6pm-9pm (exam time is two hours). Location of your choice.
  2. 2nd Final, Friday May 10th, 7pm-10pm (exam time is two hours). Location of your choice.

Course Organization

The course is organized in 10 parts:

  1. Part1: Introduction to tree diseases and their causal agents.
  2. Part2: Tree diseases caused by parasitic plants, bacteria, phytoplasmas viruses and nematodes.
  3. Part3: Fungi and oomycetes as pathogens. How can we categorize diseases?
  4. Part4: Ecology of forest diseases, differences between native and non-native diseases.
  5. Part5: Introduction pathways, mechanisms of invasion, and control strategies of emergent forest pathogens: Sudden Oak Death,  soilborne Phytophthoras , Phytophthora cinnamomi and Heterobasidion Root Disease.
  6. Part6: Novel, large-scale tree mortality in California is caused by latent pathogens triggered by climate change.
  7. Part7: Fungal Invasions: beyond the Lack-of Co-evolution Hypothesis: The Cypress Canker Disease and Heterobasidion irregulare examples.
  8. Part8: Two models for introduced diseases in California: White Pine Blister Rust and Dutch Elm disease.
  9. Part9: Walking Field trip and Lab diagnostics. Campus Tour Map – Google MapJPG
  10. Part10: Pitch Canker Disease and 1000 Canker Disease of Walnuts.


10 Required Readings for the 10 parts of the course

Supporting Course Readings 

Recommended Forest Pathology Book:

PowerPoint Lectures

Optional Class Paper

Class Papers guidelines

  • Papers are not mandatory, but if well written, they will increase your final grade
  • Submission via email to
  • Hard deadline for paper submission 11:59 pm May 10th, 2024

  • Papers will be a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 5 pages
  • Font will be Times New Roman, 12
  • Line Spacing will be 1.5

Papers may include:

  • A- For general topics: why the topic is relevant for Forest Diseases and what are the practical applications of knowledge on the topic
  • B- For specific  diseases: where is the disease native or where is the source how and when did it get to a different world region (exotic pathogen) or what was the role of the native pathogen in natural ecosystems and how did it become invasive (emergent native pathogens), what methods were used to understand where a pathogen comes from or whther it is native or exotic, what are the effects of the pathogen in the invaded system, what has been done or can be done to control the disease, what should be done that has not been done yet, is the pathogen hybridizing with another pathogen

 Paper Topics

  • 1- The fungal mycelium
  • 2- Molecular diagnostics of tree pathogens
  • 3- Disease control options for tree/forest pathogens
  • 4- Describe the current regulations to prevent importation of plant pathogens and propose a better option
  • 5- Chestnut blight in the USA and Europe
  • 6- Pine Pitch Canker: a worldwide pathogen
  • 7- Cypress Canker Disease caused by Seiridium cardinale : how did become a world pandemic
  • 8- Laurel Wilt in the Southeastern USA: an insect-borne threat to both native forests and agriculture
  • 9- Ash dieback in Europe
  • 10- A thousand canker disease of walnuts: a USA problem now reported in Italy
  • 11- The Jarrah dieback in Australia caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi
  • 12- Oak decline caused by Phytophthora cinnamoni in the Iberian Peninsula  (Portugal and Spain)
  • 13- Botryosphaeria dothidea: a worldwide latent pathogen
  • 14- Heterobasidion irregulare introduced in Italy by the US Army

Zoom Recordings

Zoom lectures recorded prior to class

Zoom Recording Class 4/4/24

Zoom Recording Class 4/11/24

Zoom Recording Class 4/18/24