Airborne Migration of Obligate Nomads Demonstrates Gene Flow Across Eurasia

  • Eckhard Limpert
  • Klaus Ammann
  • Pavel Bartoš
  • Werner K. Graber
  • Gerhard Kost
  • Jacques G. Fuchs
Conference paper


Understanding migration is important for the adequate use of biological resources. A new level of understanding is demonstrated with cereal pathogens recognized to be obligate nomads of the atmosphere. From basic reasoning, a hypothesis is put forward: virulence complexity, i.e. the number of virulences per pathogen genotype, is expected to increase in the direction of predominant winds. The hypothesis was confirmed by all of a variety of data from own investigations and from the literature and by modelling. For instance, virulence complexity of cereal mildews and rusts increased from western to eastern Europe and as far as Siberia by approximately one to two virulences per 1,000 km. The impact of our findings for general population genetics and gene flow across Europe and Asia and for further geographical areas is supposed to be considerable and worth elucidating further. Obligate nomad is a novel term that appears to be advantageous in several respects of population biology and life. Therefore, the consideration of obligate nomadism is extended to a spectrum of cases including plants, fungi and animals, as well as to neonomads and invasive plant species as a consequence of our present traffic and civilization. Most often obligate nomads are forced to migrate as substrates are ephemeral and ecological niches exist for a short period of time only. Chances and risks for health and the use of biological resources are discussed.


Gene Flow Fruiting Body Avian Influenza Leaf Rust Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eckhard Limpert
    • 1
  • Klaus Ammann
    • 2
  • Pavel Bartoš
    • 3
  • Werner K. Graber
    • 4
  • Gerhard Kost
    • 5
  • Jacques G. Fuchs
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Phytopathology, Institute of Plant SciencesSwiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH)ZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Botanical GardenBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Research Institute of Crop ProductionPraha RuzyněCzech Republic
  4. 4.Paul Scherrer InstituteVilligenSwitzerland
  5. 5.Special Botany and MycologyPhilipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany

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