Empirical evidence of spatial thresholds to control invasion of fungal parasites and saprotrophs
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The ability to forecast invasion of harmful and beneficial organisms is becoming increasingly important in agricultural and horticultural production systems as well as in natural plant communities. • In this paper we examine the spread of a fungus through a population of discrete sites on a lattice, using replicable, yet stochastically variable experimental microcosms. • We combine epidemiological concepts to summarise fungal growth dynamics with percolation theory to derive and test the following hypotheses: first fungal invasion into a population of susceptible sites on a lattice can be stopped by a threshold proportion of randomly removed sites; second random removal of susceptible sites from a population introduces a shield which can prevent invasion of unprotected sites; and third the rate at which a susceptible population is invaded reduces with increasing number of randomly protected sites. • The broader consequences of thresholds for fungal invasion in natural and agricultural systems are discussed briefly.
Otten, W., Bailey, D. J. and Gilligan, C. A. 2004. Empirical evidence of spatial thresholds to control invasion of fungal parasites and saprotrophs. New Phytologist. 163(1): pp.125-132. [Online] Available from: DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01086.x