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Title: Population dynamics of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus associated with pine forest decline
Authors: Pires, David
Campôa, João
Branco, Jordana
Miranda, Isabel
Calvão, Teresa
Mota, Manuel
Pimentel, Carla
Keywords: pinewood nematode
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus
pine wilt disease
forest decline
Issue Date: 2-Feb-2021
Publisher: Journal of Nematology
Citation: Pires, D., Campôa, J., Branco, J., Miranda, I., Calvão, T., Mota, M. & Pimentel, C. (2020). Population dynamics of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus associated with pine forest decline. In: Abstracts from the Society of Nematologists Annual Meeting 2020, Journal of Nematology, 52: 1–17.
Abstract: The pinewood nematode (PWN), Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, is a quarantine organism in the European Union and the causal agent of pine wilt disease (PWD), a serious threat to pine forests worldwide, leading to rapid decline and death. In Europe, this invasive pest was first reported in Portugal in 1999, on Pinus pinaster. Due to its economic importance and worldwide distribution, an enormous effort has been devoted to research on B. xylophilus and PWD. However, relating the presence and abundance of this pest with actual forest decline and mortality is not straightforward. In the present work, we assess the interaction between B. xylophilus populations and pine decline at the tree and landscape level. To test this, we determined PWN population densities from different sections of healthy and declining P. pinaster – considered very susceptible to PWN – and P. pinea – considered resistant, in two consecutive years. The studied site was Herdade da Apostiça (Sesimbra, Portugal), a 4 thousand ha forest that exhibits areas of moderate to severe decline. An approximate 500 m long transect was set in four different areas of the experimental site, along which healthy and declining P. pinaster trees were randomly selected. Wood samples from lower (DBH), middle (M) and upper (T) sections of trees were retrieved whenever possible, and kept in individual plastic bags to avoid cross contamination. Twigs from the canopy were also sampled. When present, samples from P. pinea were collected as well. Nematodes were extracted from wood material using a modified Baermann tray method, and counted under a stereoscopic microscope. With only few exceptions, M and T sections consistently displayed the lowest PWN densities, although samples collected at breast height (DBH) also had relatively low numbers of B. xylophilus. On the other hand, twigs had the highest numbers of nematodes in all areas. Surprisingly, nematodes were extracted from the canopy of apparently healthy P. pinaster trees, including the PWN, although in low densities. Expectedly, areas with no visible tree decline had low population densities of B. xylophilus, and declining trees tended to present higher numbers. P. pinea samples were mostly free of the PWN. To further understand the complex dynamics shaping pine forest decline caused by the PWN, more sampling will be carried out in the upcoming months. This will allow us to build predictive models on the spread and damage of PWD.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:MED - Artigos em Livros de Actas/Proceedings

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