Seasonal and Diurnal Patterns of Spore Release Can Significantly Affect the Proportion of Spores Expected to Undergo Long-Distance Dispersal
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Many of the fungal pathogens that threaten agricultural and natural systems undergo wind-assisted dispersal. During turbulent wind conditions, long-distance dispersal can occur, and airborne spores are carried over distances greater than the mean. The occurrence of long-distance dispersal is an important ecological process, as it can drastically increase the extent to which pathogen epidemics spread across a landscape, result in rapid transmission of disease to previously uninfected areas, and influence the spatial structure of pathogen populations in fragmented landscapes. Since the timing of spore release determines the wind conditions that prevail over a dispersal event, this timing is likely to affect the probability of long-distance dispersal occurring. Using a Lagrangian stochastic model, we test the effect of seasonal and diurnal variation in the release of spores on wind-assisted dispersal. Spores released during the hottest part of the day are shown to be more likely to undergo long-distance dispersal than those released at other times. Furthermore, interactions are shown to occur between seasonal and diurnal patterns of release. These results have important consequences for further modelling of wind-assisted dispersal and the use of models to predict the spread of fungal pathogens and resulting population and epidemic dynamics.
KeywordsHeat Flux Fungal Spore Friction Velocity Terminal Velocity Diurnal Pattern
This work was supported by iVEC through the use of advanced computing resources provided by the Australian Resources Research Centre located in the Western Australia Technology Park. The authors acknowledge the support of the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity, established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Programme, and also the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia for half the salary of Martin Barbetti.
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