Modelling the wind-assisted dispersal of invasive fungal pathogens

David Savage

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    294 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] The wind-assisted dispersal of fungal pathogens is an important ecological process, particularly in the field of biosecurity, as a fungal pathogen's dispersal capabilities can influence its ability to invade and establish itself in new environments. Understanding the process of wind-assisted dispersal, and the manner in which it is affected by particular aspects of a pathogens epidemiology, can therefore improve the ability of researchers and biosecurity practitioners to respond to fungal pathogen incursions. Improved understanding can result in improved abilities to predict the spread of invasive fungal pathogens through computational modelling, and consequently, to simulate and test specific introduction scenarios and management options. The work presented in this thesis demonstrates that the time at which fungal spores are released into the air can affect wind-assisted dispersal by influencing the direction and distance travelled, and the likelihood that individual spores will undergo long-distance dispersal. Consequently, the timing of release can affect the spatial dynamics of incursions by fungal pathogens and the resulting spread of disease. As part of this research, the timing of ascospore release in the fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans is analysed, and this analysis shows that patterns of release can change between different geographic locations and between different periods of observation. Therefore, the dispersal capabilities of an invasive fungal pathogen may differ depending on the characteristics of the specific environment being invaded. Where modelling of wind-assisted dispersal is undertaken for the prediction of disease epidemics, proper consideration of the effects of release timing on windassisted dispersal will allow simulations to more accurately capture the interaction between the pathogen and the specific environment being invaded...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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