Temporal Patterns of Ascospore Release in Leptosphaeria maculans Vary Depending on Geographic Region and Time of Observation
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- Savage, D., Barbetti, M.J., MacLeod, W.J. et al. Microb Ecol (2013) 65: 584. doi:10.1007/s00248-012-0165-0
Diurnal patterns of spore release have been observed in a number of fungal pathogens that undergo wind-assisted dispersal. The mechanisms that drive these patterns, while not well understood, are thought to relate to the ability of dispersing spores to survive their journey and infect new hosts. In this paper, we characterise the diurnal pattern of ascospore release by a Western Australian population of Leptosphaeria maculans. Although L. maculans has been previously shown to exhibit diurnal patterns of ascospore release, these patterns appear to vary from region to region. In order to characterise the pattern of release in the Mediterranean climate of Western Australia, we analysed historical data describing the bi-hourly count of airborne ascospores at Mt Barker, Western Australia. Results of this analysis showed diurnal patterns that differ from those previously observed in other countries, with ascospore release in our study most likely to occur in the afternoon. Furthermore, we found that the time of peak release can shift from month to month within any one season, and from year to year. In explaining the hourly pattern of spore release over an entire season, time since rainfall, time since last release, temperature, hour and month were all shown to be significant variables.