The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation says it is donating a total of $1 million to the University of California campuses in Davis and Berkeley to study Sudden Oak Death.
Foundation spokeswoman Genny Biggs said UC Berkeley would receive $600,000 and UC Davis would receive $400,000 from the foundation started by Intel founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty. Scientists can use the money for baseline research, purchasing laboratory equipment and paying lab technicians, she said.
The donation comes just one month after another major funding announcement in which Gov. Gray Davis approved $3.6 million in state funds to help fight the disease. Introduced by Assemblywoman Carole Midgen, D-San Francisco, the legislation provides the money to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop strategies to combat the disease.
First discovered in 1995 in Marin County, Sudden Oak Death has spread to trees in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Napa and Sonoma counties.
Hundreds of thousands of trees have been afflicted.
In July 2000, a UC Davis professor identified the fungus that causes the disease, but experts are still unsure how the fungus spreads and what affects the disease has on wildlife and native plants.