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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Mena-Ali, Jorge [1], Hood, Michael [2], Gibson, Amanda [2], Oxelman, Bengt [3], Giraud, Tatiana [4], Yockteng, Roxana [5], Arroyo, Mary T. K. [6], Conti, Fabio [7], Petersen, Amy [8], Gladieux, Pierre [9], Antonovics, Janis [10].

Distribution of the anther-smut pathogen Microbotryum on species of the Caryophyllaceae assessed from natural history collections.

Insight into the threats from modern disease can be gained by studying ancient host-pathogen systems that became widespread independent of human activities. However, surprisingly few examples from are available of diseases in natural populations where a broad geographic sampling can be combined with ecological and phylogenetic data to understand pathogen distributions. Microbotryum violaceum sensu lato causes anther-smut disease in members of the Caryophyllaceae . Anther smut disease causes the anthers to produce dark fungal spores rather than pollen, and infected plants can be recognized on herbarium specimens and confirmed by microscopy; however, the disease is sufficiently inconspicuous that collections are almost always carried out without knowledge of the disease Here, we present the results of a world-wide survey of the incidence of anther-smut disease, based on over 42,000 herbarium specimens of species in the genus Silene and allied genera of the Caryophyllaceae. This research greatly expands upon the previous study by Thrall et al. (1993), where incidence of anther smut in relation to floral and life-history characters was largely based on a literature survey, and geographical distributions were not explicitly considered. The data were analyzed for associations between Microbotryum infection and plant life history traits, floral characteristics, and geographic distributions. We also carried out a limited phylogenetic study on a subset of the samples, to confirm the relationship of Microbotryum on Silene to Microbotryum on the genus Calandrinia in the Portulacaeae. The current study covers a much larger geographical area and a more inclusive list of plant species than previous investigations. The results demonstrate the nearly global distribution of anther-smut disease on the Caryophyllaceae while also assessing the relationships between infection and host traits in a quantitative and phylogenetic context.

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1 - Franklin & Marshall College, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 3003, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17604-3003, USA
2 - Amherst College, Department of Biology, Mcguire Life Sciences Building, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01002, USA
3 - University of Gothenburg, Deptartment of Plant and Environmental Scineces, Box 461, Gothenburg, SE-40530, Sweden
4 - Université de Paris-Sud, Genetique et Ecologie Evolutives, Orsay, France
5 - MNHNat, Systématique et Evolution, Paris, France
6 - Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB), Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile
7 - University of Camerino , Botany and Ecology, Barisciano , Italy
8 - University of Sheffield, Animal and Plant Sciences, Sheffield, UK
9 - Université de Paris-Sud, Genetique et Ecologie Evolutives, Orsay , France
10 - University of Virginia, Biology, Charlottesville, VA, USA

smut fungus
disease dynamics
ecological resistance.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Session: 73
Location: Wasatch A/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 5:00 PM
Number: 73006
Abstract ID:784