The Ecology of Infection between a Transmissive and a Dead‐End Host Provides Clues for the Treatment of a Plant Disease

Author , , , ,
Date 2017
Publication Ecosphere. 8(5).
Key Words
AbstractIn plant pathosystems in which some hosts are transmissive and some are dead-ends, infection is mediated by multiple factors including the susceptibility of both hosts, the sporulation potential of transmissive hosts, the mobility of infectious propagules, the presence of environmental factors conducive to infection, and the variability in distribution of both host types. The factors above were studied for the California forest disease sudden oak death caused by the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. This pathogen is exotic to California, and while it sporulates at significant levels on the leaves of California bay laurels, four susceptible oak species appear to be non-infectious dead-end hosts. Here, we report, for the first time, on inoculum levels necessary to successfully infect adult oaks and on the distribution of such inoculum levels through time and space thanks to a seven-year-long monitoring effort across a network of 128 monitoring points. Through a series of geostatistical and statistical analyses, we show that the presence of high inoculum loads is positively correlated with close proximity to bay laurels, with high rainfall levels, and with warmer temperatures. Data are consistent with splash dispersal of the pathogen and show that increased presence of tanoak corresponds to a reduced presence of bay laurels and to a lower frequency of high inoculum events. Removal of bay laurels resulted in a substantial decrease of number of events in which spore loads were high enough to infect oaks. This effect was significant when bays were removed 10 m around sampling points, thus indicating that removal of bays 10 m around oaks is a valid approach to reduce infections of oaks.
Full Citation Garbelotto, M.; Schmidt, D.; Swain, S.; Hayden, K.; and Lione, G. 2017. The Ecology of Infection between a Transmissive and a Dead‐End Host Provides Clues for the Treatment of a Plant Disease. Ecosphere. 8(5).