What’s Causing ROD

  • 18 April 2018
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 7952
What’s Causing ROD
Extension forester and winner of CTAHR’s 2018 Award for Excellence in Extension J.B. Friday (NREM) is quoted in a UH News story announcing that the two species of fungus that are causing Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death, or ROD, have been described and named in a recently published paper. The two species of the Ceratocystis fungus have been given the names huliohia and lukuohia—“changer of ‘ohi‘a” and “destroyer of ‘ohi‘a”—the first Hawaiian species names given to plant pathogens. J.B., who has been working to raise awareness of the disease and funding for research into it since it was first identified in 2014, says, “It is important to know the classification of the pathogens so that quarantine regulations can be drawn up to restrict the movement of the fungi. Knowledge of related diseases might give researchers clues as to how to fight ROD and keep remaining ‘ohi‘a forests healthy.” So far ROD has only been found on the Big Island, and J.B. has been instrumental in efforts to contain its spread, including an interisland ban on the movement of any ‘ohi‘a material or soil from around the trees. This disease also has another connection to CTAHR’s awardees this year—Brian Bushe, winner of the award for Outstanding Service by an APT, was one of the first to identify the pathogen as a Ceratocystis fungus.