Urban environments provide opportunities for early detections of Phytophthora invasions

Hulbert, Joseph; Agne, Michelle; Burgess, Treena; Roets, Francois; Wingfield, Michael
December 2017
Biological Invasions;Dec2017, Vol. 19 Issue 12, p3629
Academic Journal
Globalization has increased the frequency of inadvertent introductions of plant pathogens. Many catastrophic invasions of both natural and agricultural systems have been initiated through anthropogenic dissemination pathways. Phytophthora species are a group of invasive plant pathogens causing many of the most important plant disease epidemics. A review of Phytophthora species descriptions published following the publication of the first DNA-based Phytophthora phylogeny was conducted to highlight patterns of recent introductions and to provide insights for early pathogen detection initiatives. Seventy-two publications from 2001 to 2016 describing 98 Phytophthora species were evaluated. Of the 91 species with data on geographic location isolation, 22% were described from type specimens isolated from urban environments, 33% from agricultural environments and 45% from natural environments. Within the urban environment, ornamental plant trading nurseries were the most important sources. Specifically, for Phytophthora ramorum, a species causing multiple epidemics globally, the largest proportion of first report publications were from urban environments, including nurseries. We therefore suggest that detection programs for invasive plant pathogens within the urban environment would be valuable. In this regard, specialized monitoring and citizen science projects that target urban areas where live plant-trading industries are concentrated would be particularly effective to both promote early detection and to facilitate a rapid response to new species invasions.


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