Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Engage students in a simulated plant disease diagnosis scenario, allowing them to gain disease diagnostic experience in order to cultivate critical thinking skills and prepare for plant pathology-related careers.
This activity emphasizes a systematic approach to plant disease diagnosis by allowing students to investigate a true-to-life scenario involving a commercial sweet cherry grower in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. Students will be able to practice solving a plant disease mystery using a perennial crop model and make management recommendations based on their diagnosis.
Many plant pathology-related careers require skills in systematic diagnosis, from growers to field representatives and extension agents to individuals with specialized training working in academia, the government, and industry. Similar to detective work, diagnosing disease problems requires a close attention to detail to determine an accurate diagnosis.
In this case, a scenario unfolds in which a grower noticed an issue with their crop, then mentioned it to a field representative that contacted the regional extension specialist who contacted the state extension pathologist for additional help and expertise. As anyone that has played the childhood game of “telephone” can relate, information passed through this chain can allow for information to be lost, added, or misinterpreted by the time it reaches the final individual. Even if the information was presented directly, careful attention to detail still must be paid for a proper diagnosis.
So, put on your detective hat, open your mind, be cautious not to jump to conclusions, and have fun. Happy Diagnosing!