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Field observations of fungal pathogen F. graminearum

Research Achievements

Field observations of fungal pathogen F. graminearum

The spread of agricultural diseases by airborne plant pathogens causes substantial economic damage. One such fungal pathogen is F. graminearum, which infects crops such as corn and wheat. Release-recapture studies were conducted from a clonal field-scale source of F. graminearum spores in two field seasons. Microsatellites were used to identify the released clone spores at distances up to 1 km from the source. Field observations of dispersal were compared to results predicted by a mathematical transport model. Dispersal kernel shape coefficients were similar for results observed in the field and predicted by the model, with both being dictated by a power law function, indicating that turbulence was the dominant factor on the scale we studied. This work should assist in improving current risk assessment tools for F. graminearum and contribute to the development of early warning systems for the spread of plant diseases generally.