Citizen Science Documents Spread of Horse Chestnut Pest
Study of Horse-Chestnut Leaf-Miner Reveals UK Spread
A new study that used ‘citizen science’, has uncovered significant spread of the horse-chesnut leaf-miner in the UK. The study, which involved a survey of 3,500 people, revealed an unfavourable future for the tree species in the UK.
The horse-chestnut leaf-miner is a non-native moth (Cameraria ohridella), whose larvae tunnel into the horse-chestnut tree’s leaves, causing them to turn brown – an effect that is described as a tree in autumn, but which can happen in summer.
Citizen Science Study
Surveys of the public were carried out by Dr Pocock and Dr Darren Evans, of the University of Hull, asking firstly, whether the level of damage to the trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) increased with the length of time the mothhad been in an area. And secondly, whether the rate of predation of the leaf-miner by parasitic wasps increased with the length of time that the moth had been present.
Results revealed widespread presence of the moth, and concern for the future for the horse-chestnut.
Full results of this study can be accessed through the PLOS one website.