“I am a landscape forest epidemiologist studying the spread and impacts of Phytophthora ramorum, the casual agent of Sudden Oak Death in California.”
Since P. ramorum‘s introduction to the United States in the early 1990s, it has caused widespread damage to California’s forest ecosystems. Devon’s work specifically focuses on the relationships between disease, biodiversity, and wildfire disturbances. The diversity-disease hypothesis states that high biodiversity areas have more resilience to pathogens and pests. Previous work from our lab demonstrated that this relationship is valid for this system. Devon is evaluating whether or not this relationship holds true over time and in the face of widespread wildfires, a common disturbance in California.