(BIVN) – Wind appears to be a driving force in the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death around the island of Hawaiʻi, according to a presentation given by Dr. Tom Harrington at a recent event held in Hilo.
Harrington, with the Iowa State University Department of Plant Pathology, spoke at the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Science Symposium held at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. Harrington researches the evolution and ecology of forest pathogens and other fungi, including the ʻōhiʻa-killing Ceratocystis.
Harrington’s presentation showed how wind patterns likely helped disperse the fungal disease around the island – perhaps even to Kauai, where Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death was more recently discovered.
Harrington also explained how the impacts related to Hurricane / Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 appears to have accelerated the spread of Ceratocystis, especially from Puna into Kaʻū.
The presentation also explained the genetic detective-work that charts the spread of the disease.