Research News

David Burke and Adam Hoke Co-Authored a Study on Beech Leaf Disease

The Burke lab is continuing research on beech leaf disease and had another paper published. This paper was led by Sharon Reed who is with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. David Burke and Adam Hoke are co-authors on the study, as we contributed data from Holden’s lower Baldwin research plots on nematode population size. This paper appeared in Forest Pathology and can be found here.

Holden’s Leach Station in the Akron Beacon Journal

May 28, 2020 – Pictures of Connor Ryan, Holden’s Rhododendron Collections Manager, and some of the sites around the David G. Leach Research Station were part of an online piece by the Akron Beacon Journal. Take a look at the pictures here.

Katie Stuble is a Co-Author on a Study Published in the Journal Ecology

May 26, 2020 – Katie Stuble co-authored a paper titled “Year effects: Inter-annual variation as a driver of community assembly dynamics” for the journal Ecology. The published study explores the substantial, but rarely acknowledged, impacts of interannual variability on the outcomes of community assembly (the process by which new plant communities come together). You can read the article here.

The Research Department Welcomes Summer Interns

May 2020 – Holden’s Research Department is hosting local students for our summer intern program. Due to COVID-19, the majority of our summer research is being conducted in the field and in a socially-distant manner. The summer research projects range in topics that include the Malus apple microbiome, forest restoration, phenology of spring ephemerals, tree response to their urban environment, and the expansion of red cedar range.

Interns social distancing in the field

Holden Researchers Participate in Climate Change Webinar

April 15, 2020 – Holden’s Rhododendron Collections Manager, Connor Ryan, and Research Associate, Sarah Kyker, participated in a webinar run by Oberlin College. The webinar presented information about the significance of trees and forests in our daily lives and in the broader context of climate change. Holden researchers joined individuals from the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE), as well as the Departments of Environmental Studies, Biology, East Asian Studies, and Geology at Oberlin College to discuss the importance of trees and climate change. A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

The Medeiros Lab Welcomes Randy Long

March 2, 2020 – The Medeiros Lab at Holden Arboretum welcomed new postdoctoral researcher Dr. Randy Long, who will work on a project funded by the National Science Foundation examining the physiology of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana). This interdisciplinary project is being conducted in collaboration with researchers at three local universities, Kent State, Ohio State and Denison, to better understand the relative importance of factors like climate, seed dispersal and fire regime in driving the westward range expansion of this long-lived woody shrub into grassland ecosystems.

Dr. Randy Long at Holden Arboretum

New Study on Planting Order during Restoration published by Katie Stuble

February 2020 – Holden scientist Katie Stuble published a new paper in the journal Diversity, exploring the impacts of planting order on restoration outcomes. Planting species early on in restoration can be used to promote target species. However, Stuble’s research found that, in some cases, planting restoration species at different times, as opposed to all at once, can leave restored areas vulnerable to invasion by non-native species. This suggests that, in some cases, establishment of non-native species may be an unintended consequence of using such staggered plantings of species as a restoration tool. The article is available here.

David Burke Gives Webinar on Beech Leaf Disease

February 26, 2020 – David Burke, Holden’s Vice President for Science and Conservation, gave a webinar on his lab’s research on beech leaf disease (BLD). This two-part webinar began with Dan Volk of the Cleveland Metroparks first giving information about BLD. David provided content for the second half and discussed current data from his lab that are helping to find the cause of BLD. The webinar was hosted by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) University, which is a collaborative project between Purdue University, Michigan State University, and The Ohio State University that originally distributed information on emerald ash borer. More recently, EAB University has expanded their scope to distribute information on more pests and diseases. Check out the webinar here.

Research on BLD at Holden includes inoculating buds with live nematodes and monitoring the trees to see if they develop the characteristic interveinal darkening of symptomatic leaves.

Research from Holden on Beech Leaf Disease Published in Forest Pathology

January 2020 – Two of Holden’s researchers, David Burke (Vice President for Science and Conservation) and Adam Hoke (Research Specialist), were co-authors on articles about beech leaf disease (BLD) that were published by Forest Pathology. One article (found here) details the leaf microbiome on symptomatic and asymtomatic leaves and buds and identifies bacterial taxa that are more commonly associated with infected leaves. The other article (found here) describes the association of infected beech trees with the nematode species Litylenchus crenatae mccannii, a subspecies of L. crenatae, which were originally described in Japan. This newly described subspecies is currently believed to be necessary for disease symptoms.

Holden Research Welcomes Na Wei

January 2020 – The Research Department is excited to welcome our new staff Scientist, Dr. Na Wei. Wei’s research investigates the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that confer plant adaptation to the environment and focuses on the interactions between plant phenotype, genotype, and environment. More information about Na’s research can be found here.

Dr. Na Wei at Holden Arboretum

The Medeiros Lab Welcomes Weijia Xie

November 2019 – The Medeiros Lab welcomes Weijia Xie, PhD student at the Yunnan Flower Research Institute and Yunnan Agricultural University, to complete a one-year visiting scholar position. Weijia will investigate the relationship between leaf heat tolerance and floral traits of Rhododendron species in the Holden Arboretum collections. Weijia will also work with Dr. Jean Burns of Case Western Reserve University to learn phylogenetic comparative data analysis techniques.

Picture of Weijia by a Rhododendron

Holden Researcher Teaches Lab at Lake Erie College

December 2019 – Holden Research Associate, Sarah Kyker, was recently invited to Lake Erie College (LEC) as a guest lab instructor for Dr. Deborah Schulman’s Microbiology class. Over three weeks, the LEC students extracted total DNA from soil samples, used an established biotechnology method called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify bacterial species living in the soil, and learned how to collect and analyze the data with the widely used software package R. The results of the study are on the screen in the picture below. The analyzed soil samples are being used to compare new and old growth forests at Holden, however the techniques that the students learned can be used to analyze communities of microbes living anywhere, including in and on the human body.

Dr. Deborah Schulman and Dr. Sarah Kyker pictured with the PCR results produced by the Microbiology students.

Holden Highlighted in a Science News Article

Nov. 14, 2019 – Science magazine ran an article about the mysterious beech leaf disease and the scholars that are helping elucidate a cause. Holden Scientist and Vice President for Science and Conservation, David Burke, is one of these scholars. Burke, along with Holden Research Specialist Adam Hoke, worked on a greenhouse study where nematodes were added to leaves of beech trees and then monitored for symptoms. Currently, the nematode species Litylenchus crenatae, is the best candidate for the cause of the beech leaf disease. The article, by Gabriel Popkin, can be accessed here.

Holden Arboretum Selected as a Landslide 2019 Site

Nov. 6, 2019 – Holden Arboretum has been selected as a featured site in the Landslide 2019: Living in Nature program. For 2019, this program highlights climate change and its threats to our natural world. Holden was selected as our natural areas and collections highlight the threat that climate change poses to our natural world. The work also helps to highlight our ongoing climate change research and work as a leader in environmental stewardship. More information about the Landslide 2019 program can be found here.

Holden Researchers Publish Paper on the Long-Term Influences on Soil Fungi

Oct. 10, 2019 – In a study by Holden Scientists David Burke and Sarah Kyker, with CWRU Professor Jean Burns, soil fungi in Stebbins Gulch were profiled over five years. Monthly soil collections were made between 2006 and 2011 at three soil depths for a total of 1080 soil samples. Interestingly, air and soil temperature had little effect on the fungal taxa found at each time point. Instead, fungi were strongly influenced by soil chemistry, especially phosphorus availability and soil moisture.  This highlights the fact that climate change could have a greater effect on soil fungi if climate change alters precipitation and soil moisture rather than just temperature. The article was published in the October issue of the journal Ecosphere and can be accessed for free here.

David Burke sorts bags for soil collection on a snowy collection day in February 2007.  A picture of one of the six long-term plots in Stebbins Gulch in December of 2006.  Sarah Kyker collects a soil core under snow cover in January of 2010.

Left: David Burke sorts bags for soil collection on a snowy collection day in February 2007. Middle: A picture of one of the six long-term plots in Stebbins Gulch in December of 2006. Right: Sarah Kyker collects a soil core under snow cover in January of 2010.

Public Gardens and Their Importance for Ecological Research Highlighted at National Scientific Meeting

Aug. 12, 2019 – The importance of arboreta and public gardens for ecological research has been gaining awareness within the scientific community. This was the topic for an Inspire session organized by Holden Forests & Gardens Scientist Katie Stuble for the 2019 Ecological Society of America meeting held in Louisville, Kentucky. Research at Holden Arboretum was presented in this session, as well as research from the Morton Arboretum, Denver Botanical Gardens, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Dawes Arboretum. A list of the speakers, along with a description of the session, can be found here.

Important Discovery in David Burke’s Lab Makes National News

Aug. 9, 2019 – David Burke and members of the Burke lab, along with collaborators, discovered that Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) is likely caused by a nematode. BLD was first detected in Lake County in 2012 and is characterized by interveinal thickening and darkening of leaf tissue in American beech trees. WKSU’s Jeff St. Clair talked to David and others for a story about BLD that aired on National Public Radio. You can listen to Jeff’s story here.  The Burke lab, along with collaborators including the USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are continuing to study BLD in an effort to stop its spread.

Comparing healthy and diseased American beech leavesDavid Burke

Summer Interns Present Research at the SEARCH Symposium

Aug. 2, 2019 – Interns from the Research Department wrapped up their summer by presenting their summer research projects at the 4th annual Symposium for Ecological Research (SEARCH). Twenty two students presented their summer research to attendees that ventured to the Cleveland Botanical Garden from across Northeast Ohio, including university and college professors and HF&G members. In addition to HF&G interns, interns from Kent State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Cleveland State University and Ohio Northern University also presented at the symposium.

Holden intern, Raphaella Mascia, and Research Specialist, Jessica Miller, enjoying the SEARCH symposium.Holden intern, Emily Galloway, explains her summer research project.

Katie Stuble Selected to Serve on SESYNC Committee

Katie Stuble at the Holden Arboretum research plots.

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), which is operated by the University of Maryland and funded by the National Science Foundation, has selected Holden Scientist Katie Stuble to serve on their Scientific Review Committee. SESYNC brings together the science of the natural world with the science of human behavior and decision-making to find solutions to complex environmental problems. SESYNC convenes science teams to work on broad issues of national and international relevance, such as water resources management, land management, agriculture, species protection, among other areas of study.

National Science Foundation Grant Awarded to Juliana Medeiros

June 2019 – Holden  Forests & Gardens Scientist Juliana Medeiros has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with her collaborators David Ward at Kent State University, Sarah Supp at Denison University, and Gil Bohrer at Ohio State University. The funded project focuses on eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which is a native species but is becoming invasive in many grassland regions due to human modification of the environment and climate change. One goal of the project is to gather information to better predict where red cedar is likely to expand its range and become invasive. Researchers on the project will present the science of the project to K-12 students as part of HF&G’s Working with Nature Camp and to members of its Tree Corp adult workforce development program. Research on this project will begin in 2020.

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