Emerging strains of watermelon mosaic virus in Southeastern France: model-based estimation of the dates and places of introduction.
Where and when alien organisms are successfully introduced are central questions to elucidate biotic and abiotic conditions favorable to the introduction, establishment and spread of invasive species. We propose a modelling framework to analyze multiple introductions by several invasive genotypes or genetic variants, in competition with a resident population, when observations provide knowledge on the relative proportions of each variant at some dates and places. This framework is based on a mechanistic-statistical model coupling a reaction-diffusion model with a probabilistic observation model. We apply it to a spatio-temporal dataset reporting the relative proportions of five genetic variants of watermelon mosaic virus (WMV, genus Potyvirus, family Potyviridae) in infections of commercial cucurbit fields. Despite the parsimonious nature of the model, it succeeds in fitting the data well and provides an estimation of the dates and places of successful introduction of each emerging variant as well as a reconstruction of the dynamics of each variant since its introduction.