College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

November in the News

Faculty Travel:

Dr. Lindsey du Toit was an invited participant in the 2006 annual meeting of the British Leafy Salad Association, held on November 22 in Peterborough, England. Dr. du Toit presented “Spinach spoilers: Some foliar diseases of economic significance.” During the week she had several meetings with seed company personnel, consultants, plant breeders, plant pathologists, and vegetable growers to discuss their research projects on seedborne diseases of spinach.

Why WSU?:

Dr. Lori Carris is featured on the WSU home page, profiled on a link in one of the revolving photos with Dr. Carris and graduate students. The link is from “Future Students, Why WSU,” and it highlights WSU’s world-class faculty. The article discusses her teaching and research programs, which focus on fungi. The article also points out the department’s approach to undergraduate studies: Students are taught by professors, not teaching assistants.

Washington State Provides National Christmas Tree:

Washington State is providing the National Christmas tree to Washington D.C. this year. The 65.5 foot tall Pacific Silver fir tree was November 1and starts a 21-day tour of Washington State communities on the 6th before it is shipped to D.C. later this month.  The following web site provides information about our state providing this tree to the capital.  Dr. Gary Chastagner, who conducts postharvest Christmas tree research, was contacted last spring by personnel from the US Forest Service and WA DNR, who are responsible for selecting the tree and shipping it to D.C., and was asked to advise them on the postharvest moisture and needle retention characteristics of the various types of trees on the Olympic National Forest. He has also been providing advice relating to the care of the tree while it is on its extended journey. This involvement has also provided an opportunity to obtain information about the changes in moisture content of this tree during its trip to D.C. Dr. Chastagner, along with technician Kathy Riley, traveled to the Green Diamond Resource Company facility near Shelton where the flatbed trailer with the tree was being prepared for the start of its tour of our state. They attached a device on the tree to monitor the environmental conditions the tree is exposed to during its trip and collected foliage samples to measure the initial moisture content of the tree. With the help of Sara Savage from the US Forest Service Office in Quilcene, who will be accompanying the tree back to D.C., additional foliage samples will be collected throughout the trip and sent back to Dr. Chastagner to measure changes in the moisture content of the tree. Dr. Chastagner has done a number of these types of studies with smaller Christmas trees, and it will be interesting to see how those results compare to this very large Christmas tree. See WSU Today for the feature article.

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