Plasmopara viticola, causal agent of grape downy mildew, was first detected in Western Australia (WA) in widespread commercial viticulture in the Swan Valley (-31.85 S, 116.02 E) in 1998. It has since been found in all viticultural areas in WA, which extend from the far north (-15.75 S, 128.74 E) to the far south (-35.02 S, 117.80 E) of the state across a diverse range of climate zones. Not all of these zones are considered conducive for the development of grape downy mildew. The early infection behaviour of P. viticola isolates, obtained from climatically different grape-growing locations, was examined under different temperatures of incubation (10, 20, and 30 degrees C). Variation in early infection behaviour was used to discern ecotypes of the pathogen. Ten isolates were obtained from WA and 8 of these responded similarly. Three isolates obtained from the east of Australia and used as comparisons in the study behaved similarly to most of the WA isolates. Zoospore germination and host penetration occurred at 10 and 20 degrees C for all isolates. None of the isolates penetrated the host at 30 degrees C. Only 2 isolates, from WA, germinated at 30 degrees C. The early infection behaviour of most of the P. viticola isolates examined in this study appears to be reasonably analogous, despite the influence of varied local environmental conditions. The capacity of certain isolates to germinate under a wider spectrum of temperatures could be indicative of ecotypic specialisation. Such behaviour could confer advantage for the pathogen in viticultural regions that experience high temperatures throughout the growing season.