REPHRAME key deliverable and objectives

Development of a pinewood nematode (PWN) Tool Kit

The key deliverable of the project is the synthesis and development of a simple web based interface PWN Tool Kit which will provide analysed data from the project as well as practical advice and new or enhanced methodologies available for use by the end-user stakeholder community.

Identifying the interaction between Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, its vectors in the genus Monochamus and living or dead host trees

The consortium will aim to achieve this by:

  • Gathering data to determine the factors which govern the behaviour and dynamics of PWN in infested trees.
  • Assessing phenology and dispersal capacities of PWN vectors to determine the potential and conditions for spread of the disease and for the development of management measures to deal with outbreaks.
  • Developing new methods for trapping, monitoring and control of Monochamus spp. and PWN so as to reduce populations of the vector and hence the spread of PWN.
  • Determining and assessing through genetic characterisation of the risk of non-vector spread of PWN, the invasion routes into Europe, with potential linkage to specific pathways to healthy forests.
  • Further understanding the mechanisms of tolerance or resistance of host tree resistance to PWN and its vectors. These are currently poorly understood and it is uncertain whether the effects are robust or can be exploited in selection and breeding programmes for future planting.
  • Extending and refining the process model developed in PHRAME and developing a simplified sub-model to provide assessment of the prediction risk of pine wilt expression across eco-climatic zones, taking account of latency at a range of scales and climate scenarios, current or future.
  • Accumulating the enormous research effort on this extremely damaging pest by gathering together data for assessing so as to provide a wider knowledge base, and then building an effective interacting collaboration with EU and International organisations.
  • Providing information in support of EU plant health policy by means of synthesis which will deliver rapid analysis and interpretation of data in development of an improved Tool Kit for monitoring and management options of PWN.
  • Ensuring successful communication between Partners, the European Commission and key stakeholders as part of an effective and flexible Stakeholder Engagement & Dissemination package.

Specific programmes of work and outputs

  • Determine factors governing association of the nematode with the vector, the nematode leaving the vector, the movement of the nematode in the tree and the expression or latency of wilt symptoms are poorly understood. Understanding these processes better is vital for predicting and managing spread of the disease, and could also lead to development of better methods for sampling the nematode.
  • Knowledge of vector dynamics and vector capacity for long distance dispersal under a wide range of conditions likely to be experienced in Europe is critical for determining the potential and conditions for spread of the disease. This information will be used to aid the development of management measures to deal with outbreaks by developing new or improved tools to track vector activity and dispersal in different forest environments, using behavioural land molecular techniques.
  • The recent discovery of highly effective and specific attractants for M. galloprovincialis by existing Project Partners provides opportunities to make major advances in areas of research and management of the spread of PWN in Europe. The Project will optimise trapping systems for M. galloprovincialis to capture all life stages, develop traps for detecting the presence of beetles infested with PWN. It will also determine whether trapping can be used to reduce populations of the vector and hence the spread of PWN, and develop traps and lures for other European Monochamus species considered likely to be vectors of PWN.
  • Collection of evidence to support the hypothesis on whether infestation of wood by PWN, but not Monochamus spp. in the context of international trade in wood in all its forms, including sawn, processed and packaging wood, can result in successful transfer to trees at the end of the pathway. This will be investigated to determine the distribution, survival and population dynamics of PWN in wood, relative to wood moisture content, and in wood chips.
  • Develop a set of microsatellite genetic markers for use in PWN genetic characterisation and assess, through genetic characterisation of PWN, the invasion routes into Europe, with potential linkage to specific pathways.
  • Investigate further resistance of Pinus to PWN and establish the genetic basis for this and preferences of the vector for different species during maturation feeding or oviposition.
  • Obtain hybrid progenies segregating differently in relation to PWN as an approach to obtain resistant plant material and to study quantitative trait loci involved in disease resistance and to investigate the potential of pattern mosaics, rather than monocultures, of tree species as a measure to reduce PWN impacts by field observation of pine wilt expression in existing mixed forests in Portugal.
  • Determine the limits of likely wilt expression in Europe both in relation to impact and an improved survey methodology.
  • Further develop and simplify the process and heuristic models developed in PHRAME so as to provide simulation tools to help determine where wilt will occur under current and future climate conditions thus extending its usability to a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Collect all relevant data which will be expanded into an accumulated knowledge base so that the Tool Kit Package can be built around this.
  • Develop effective cooperation and collaboration by assessing or interacting with relevant EU and international projects, Phytosanitary organisations, Nematology programs and International PWN research groups.
  • Produce focussed research and development strategies that will advance the fundamental and applied knowledge base on PWN and its vectors in the genus Monochamus.
  • Scientifically and statistically interpret the results from REPHRAME as well as international research sources and synthesise them rapidly into a form suitable for use by the end-user stakeholder community. A particular priority will be delivery to the EU and Member State authorities and other interested parties in support of EU plant health policy.  The synthesis will deliver rapid analysis and interpretation of data in development of improved monitoring and management options for PWN and its vectors.
  • Ensure successful communication between Partners, the European Commission and key stakeholders as part of an effective and flexible dissemination package:
    • Ensuring that all outputs are in appropriate formats and are disseminated as soon as possible after analysis and interpretation of data has been carried out.
    • Establishing the Stakeholder Observer Group and ensuring that it is fully involved with the consortium
    • Delivering themed Workshops along with the current implementation of the PWN Tool Kit as well as an International Conference involving both REPHRAME Partners and international experts during the final year of the project.

See the description of the work packages for further details.