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March 18, 2020
Ingrid Parker “Phylogenetic ecology and plant disease”
host: Jonathan Davies, cookies Marie and Laura P.
Abstract: Pathogens play an important role in shaping the structure and dynamics of natural plant communities. We study how the phylogenetic and ecological structure of the surrounding community can be important predictors of disease pressure in a grassland plant community. Most fungal pathogens on plants show intermediate levels of host specificity, and host sharing is strongly influenced by phylogenetic relatedness. We formulate predictive models of pathogen sharing using a global database, then use these models to predict disease pressure (impact of infectious disease) at the local scale. We find that we can both explain variation in disease across a community of hosts and predict disease pressure for experimentally introduced novel hosts. Our work has implications for the maintenance of biodiversity, biotic resistance against introduced weeds, and the success of managed plants in agriculture and forestry.
Biodiversity Research Seminar Series (BRS)