Monitoring laurel-wilt tolerant red bay at Cannon's Point Preserve
Authors: Anthony Cozzolino, Joshua Harper, Jayla Johnson, Jennifer Schoof, and Margaret Wheat
Faculty Supervisor: C. Tate Holbrook, Ph.D.
Cannon’s Point Preserve, located on St. Simons Island, is a protected area of land that houses a variety of important ecosystems and habitats; the maritime forest is one of these. A particular species of interest within Cannon’s Point is redbay (Persea borbonia). This tree species is threatened due to a disease known as laurel wilt. This disease is caused by a fungus that is carried by an invasive species known as the redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus). The College of Coastal Georgia BIOL 4020 Conservation Biology class, in collaboration with St. Simons Land Trust and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, is monitoring a rare population of redbay at Cannon’s Point that has survived laurel wilt and may be resistant to the disease. We are doing this by identifying, measuring, and tagging individual trees, allowing us to track their growth and health over time. Data collected from this particular population have the potential to aid in restoration efforts for redbay located elsewhere.