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Goal: Improve disease management of Phytophthora blight for cucurbit growers.Characterize Phytophthora blight populations in Michigan cucurbits. Examine isolates from recent Hausbeck Phytophthora collections isolated from zucchini, cucumber, watermelon, and winter squash to assess population shifts over time. Also, collect new isolates in 2023 over time in a subset of fields to gather information on the current population and compare with previous years. Evaluate virulence of a subset of isolates and examine the effects of temperature on pathogen growth and virulence in vitro.Determine effective chemical control strategies for management of Phytophthora blight. Screen Phytophthora capsici isolates from historic lab collection and new collection for sensitivity to several fungicides representing multiple FRAC groups that are currently available to growers. Special consideration will be made to screen some fungicides that are also available to organic growers. Fungicide efficacy will also be examined for select chemicals in field settings at the Hausbeck group's plots at an MSU research and extension center where the pathogen is known to be present.Develop and deliver extension materials to inform growers of latest findings. Create print and online fact sheet resources that will contain information about fungicide resistance in the Phytophthora capsici population and pathogen management recommendations. Also present these results at venues where growers are in attendance, including grower conferences and field days. Inform extension educators about findings so they can also spread knowledge to their network of growers and further train on best management practices.Goal: Increase interest in plant pathology and awareness of the important impact that plant pathogens have.Train undergraduate students in plant pathology techniques. Work closely with undergraduate students in the Hausbeck group and with one student through the MSU REU program in 2024 to teach techniques used within the field of plant pathology. If students show interest, PD will also mentor students with applying for graduate school or jobs in the agricultural sciences, thus helping to increase the number of skilled plant pathologists in the workforce.Present plant pathology and agriculture science concepts to the public via science outreach events. The PD will participate in two public events per year during the fellowship tenure. Event participation will vary depending upon opportunities available through MSU and professional connections. Opportunities may include hosting a booth at a science day event or creating and presenting a K-12 classroom-based activity in a school or to agriculture-based groups.

Klein-Gordon, J. M.
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