Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A global genetic analysis of herbarium specimens reveals the invasion dynamics of an introduced plant pathogen.

Abstract

The introduction, spread, and impact of fungal plant pathogens is a critical concern in ecological systems. In this study, we were motivated by the rather sudden appearance of Acermacrophyllum heavily infected with powdery mildew . We used morphological and genetic analyses to confirm the pathogen causing the epidemic was Sawadaea bicornis. In subsequent field studies, this pathogen was found in several locations in western North America, and in greenhouse studies, A. macrophyllum was found to be significantly more susceptible to S. bicornis than nine other Acer species tested. A genetic analysis of 178 specimens of powdery mildew from freshly collected and old herbarium specimens from 15 countries revealed seven different haplotypes . The high diversity of haplotypes found in Europe coupled with sequence results from a specimen from 1864 provides evidence that S. bicornis has a European origin. Furthermore, sequence data from a specimen from 1938 in Canada show that the pathogen has been present in North America for at least 82 years revealing a considerable lag time between the introduction and current epidemic. This study used old herbarium specimens to genetically hypothesize the origin, the native host, and the invasion time of a detrimental fungal plant pathogen .