Seasonality and the evolutionary divergence of plant parasites

Frédéric Hamelin 1, * Magda Castel 1 Sylvain Poggi 1 Didier Andrivon 1 Ludovic Mailleret 2
* Corresponding author
2 BIOCORE - Biological control of artificial ecosystems
LOV - Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche, CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée , INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Abstract : The coexistence of closely related plant parasites is widespread. Yet, understanding the ecological determinants of evolutionary divergence in plant parasites remains an issue. Niche differentiation through resource specialization has been widely researched, but it hardly explains the coexistence of parasites exploiting the same host plant. Time-partitioning has so far received less attention, although in temperate climates, parasites may specialize either in the early or in the late season. Accordingly we investigated whether seasonality can also promote phenotypic divergence. For plant parasites, seasonality generally engenders periodic host absence. To account for abrupt seasonal events, we made use of an epidemic model that combines continuous and discrete dynamics. Based on the assumption there is a trade-off between in-season transmission and inter-season survival, we found out through an 'evolutionary invasion analysis' that evolutionary divergence of the parasite phenotype can occur. Since such a trade-off has been reported, this study provides further ecological bases for the coexistence of closely related plant parasites. Moreover, this study provides original insights into the coexistence of sibling plant pathogens which perform either a single or several infection cycles within a season (mono- and poly-cyclic diseases, or uni- and multi-voltine life cycles).
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Frédéric Hamelin, Magda Castel, Sylvain Poggi, Didier Andrivon, Ludovic Mailleret. Seasonality and the evolutionary divergence of plant parasites. Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 2011, 92, pp.2159-2166. ⟨hal-00729263⟩

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