Seasonal and Diurnal Patterns of Spore Release Can Significantly Affect the Proportion of Spores Expected to Undergo Long-Distance Dispersal

Martin J. Barbetti, William J. MacLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


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. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-585
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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