- Skinner, Margaret
University of Vermont
Eastern hemlock is a valued component of New England’s forest, annually adding ~$100 million to the economy in New York and New England. It also contributes significantly to the biodiversity of the Northern Forest, playing a key role in erosion control along streams, and providing food, shelter and shade for a wide variety of wildlife and fish. Hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae (HWA), is an exotic invasive pest that is ravaging hemlock forests along most of the eastern seaboard and continues to expand its distribution, threatening the entire range of eastern hemlock. It was recently found in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In 2008, a significant natural decline in HWA populations in NH was observed by State foresters. HWA in these areas showed signs of infection, from which fungi were isolated. Through morphological and molecular analyses UVM scientists confirmed that the fungus from this epizootic of HWA was Myriangium sp., an insect-killing fungus of scale insects they had found in past field studies.