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Abstract Detail

The Hills are Alive: Ecology and Evolution of the Intermountain West Flora

Miller, Ian [1].

Climate change and the evolutionary ecology of plant infectious disease.

The potential for climate change to exacerbate the burden of human infectious diseases has been increasingly recognized, but less attention has been given to the effects of climate change on infectious diseases of plants. Plant pathogens are critical components of natural ecosystems, and also pose a serious threat to agricultural production and food security, reducing the yield of major crops by about 20% each year. We use the fungal pathogen ‘flax rust’ (Melampsora lini) and its subalpine wildflower host Lewis flax (Linum lewisii), to investigate the how climate change might affect the epidemiology and evolution of plant pathogens. By tracking the spread of disease within and between plants in populations spanning a large temperature gradient and incorporating these cross-scale transmission dynamics into an epidemiological model, we can predict how warmer temperatures might affect the speed and severity of flax rust epidemics. Combining these predictions with multiannual demographic data in an evolutionary model illuminates how climate change might alter flax rust virulence, and as a result drive further changes in epidemiological patterns. Insights from flax rust emphasize the importance of developing a mechanistic understanding of plant pathogen epidemiology and the value studying plant infectious disease in natural systems.

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1 - Princeton University, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 106A Guyot Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544, United States

disease ecology
climate change

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY5, The Hills are Alive: Ecology and Evolution of the Intermountain West Flora
Location: /
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM(EDT)
Number: SY5008
Abstract ID:119
Candidate for Awards:None

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