Former M.S. student Anne Dombroski (graduated 12/05) investigated etiology and ecology of a newly recognized fungal leaf spot disease of Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata). The disease has caused severe defoliation of Japanese tree lilac in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Idaho during wet growing seasons. Anne successfully completed Koch's postulates in greenhouse inoculation trials. She is currently identifying the causal fungus to genus and species. Amplification of the ITS region of rDNA and BLAST searches revealed close homology with several Cercospora species. Anne also identified optimal temperature conditions for in vitro growth of the pathogen.