Ecology Letters (2016) 19, 469-477

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Kerry Bohl Stricker, Philip F. Harmon, Erica M. Goss, Keith Clay and S. Luke Flory (2016)
Emergence and accumulation of novel pathogens suppress an invasive species
Ecology Letters 19 (4), 469-477
Abstract: Emerging pathogens are a growing threat to human health, agriculture and the diversity of ecological communities but may also help control problematic species. Here we investigated the diversity, distribution and consequences of emerging fungal pathogens infecting an aggressive invasive grass that is rapidly colonising habitats throughout the eastern USA. We document the recent emergence and accumulation over time of diverse pathogens that are members of a single fungal genus and represent multiple, recently described or undescribed species. We also show that experimental suppression of these pathogens increased host performance in the field, demonstrating the negative effects of emerging pathogens on invasive plants. Our results suggest that invasive species can facilitate pathogen emergence and amplification, raising concerns about movement of pathogens among agricultural, horticultural, and wild grasses. However, one possible benefit of pathogen accumulation is suppression of aggressive invaders over the long term, potentially abating their negative impacts on native communities.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): S. Luke Flory

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Microstegium vimineum (weed) U.S.A. (SE)