Sudden Oak Death: Interactions of the Exotic Oomycete Phytophthora ramorum with Naïve North American Hosts

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Eukaryotic Cell, Volume 11, p.1313-1323 (2012)



Ten years after a threatening and previously unknown disease of oaks and tanoaks appeared in coastal California, a significant amount of progress has been made toward the understanding of its causal agent Phytophthora ramorum and of the novel pathosystems associated with this exotic organism. However, a complete understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of this species still eludes us. In part, our inability to fully understand this organism is due to its phylogenetic, phylogeographic, phenotypic, and epidemiological complexities, all reviewed in this paper. Most lines of evidence suggest that the high degree of disease severity reported in California is not simply due to a generalized lack of resistance or tolerance in naïve hosts but also to an innate ability of the pathogen to survive in unfavorable climatic conditions and to reproduce rapidly when conditions become once again favorable.