Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PLANT GENETIC RESOURCE AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

Location: North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa

Title: Building a Comprehensive Collection of Ash Germplasm

Author
item Widrlechner, Mark

Submitted to: International Conference for Botanic Gardens
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 23, 2010
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/48087
Citation: Widrlechner, M.P. 2010. Building a Comprehensive Collection of Ash Germplasm. Proceedings of the 4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress. p. 1-10.

Interpretive Summary: This paper summarizes a presentation given to the 4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in the Symposium, "The Introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer in North America, A Case Study of Invasive Species Epidemiology and Conservation of the Host Species." It briefly discusses the state of ash taxonomy, ash as a landscape and forest tree, some of its specialized uses, including those by Native Americans, and its ecological role in supporting other organisms. The devastation caused to native, North American ash populations by the introduction of emerald ash borer (EAB) to the Detroit, Michigan area has already led to the loss of tens of millions of trees. Diverse efforts are underway to document and slow EAB’s spread and to develop appropriate biological controls. Scientific research on ash-EAB interactions, including the study of potential tolerance or resistance mechanisms, analyses of ash breeding systems and genetic diversity, and ash taxonomy and identification, would all benefit from access to well-documented, diverse ash germplasm. To help address this unfolding biological tragedy, a collaborative, international effort to conserve important ash genetic resources has been organized. Fortunately, ash is amenable to long-term preservation through the storage of seeds and of dormant winter buds. Key partners in this effort are described, with a focus on the coordinating organization, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service's National Plant Germplasm System, along with a summary of progress to date and future plans. The information contained in this report should be of interest to foresters and horticulturists and other researchers and land managers who are responding to the huge losses being caused by EAB.

Technical Abstract: This paper summarizes a presentation from the Congress Symposium, "The Introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer in North America, A Case Study of Invasive Species Epidemiology and Conservation of the Host Species." It briefly discusses the state of Fraxinus (ash) taxonomy, ash as a landscape and forest tree, some of its specialized uses, including those by Native Americans, and its role in supporting other organisms. The devastation caused to native, North American ash populations by the introduction of Agrilus planipennis (emerald ash borer; EAB) to the Detroit, Michigan area has already led to the loss of tens of millions of trees. Diverse efforts are underway to document and slow EAB’s spread and develop appropriate biological controls. Scientific research on ash-EAB interactions, including the study of potential tolerance or resistance mechanisms, breeding and genetic-diversity analyses, and ash systematics, would all benefit from access to well-documented, diverse ash germplasm. To help redress this unfolding biological tragedy, a collaborative, international effort to conserve these important genetic resources has been organized. Fortunately, ash is amenable to ex situ conservation through seed storage and cryogenic storage of dormant winter buds. Key partners in this effort are described herein, with a focus on the coordinating organization, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s National Plant Germplasm System, along with a summary of progress to date and future plans.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014