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Abundance of Ganoderma sp. in Europe and SW Asia: modelling the pathogen infection levels in local trees using the proxy of airborne fungal spore concentrations
journal contributionposted on 09.08.2021, 07:59 by Agnieszka Grinn-Gofroń, Paweł Bogawski, Beata Bosiacka, Jakub Nowosad, Irene Camacho, Magdalena Sadyś, Carsten Ambelas Skjøth, Catherine Helen Pashley, Victoria Rodinkova, Talip Çeter, Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, Athanasios Damialis
Ganoderma comprises a common bracket fungal genus that causes basal stem rot in deciduous and coniferous trees and palms, thus having a large economic impact on forestry production. We estimated pathogen abundance using long-term, daily spore concentration data collected in five biogeographic regions in Europe and SW Asia. We hypothesized that pathogen abundance in the air depends on the density of potential hosts (trees) in the surrounding area, and that its spores originate locally. We tested this hypothesis by (1) calculating tree cover density, (2) assessing the impact of local meteorological variables on spore concentration, (3) computing back trajectories, (4) developing random forest models predicting daily spore concentration. The area covered by trees was calculated based on Tree Density Datasets within a 30 km radius from sampling sites. Variations in daily and seasonal spore concentrations were cross-examined between sites using a selection of statistical tools including HYSPLIT and random forest models.
Our results showed that spore concentrations were higher in Northern and Central Europe than in South Europe and SW Asia. High and unusually high spore concentrations (> 90th and > 98th percentile, respectively) were partially associated with long distance transported spores: at least 33% of Ganoderma spores recorded in Madeira during days with high concentrations originated from the Iberian Peninsula located >900 km away. Random forest models developed on local meteorological data performed better in sites where the contribution of long distance transported spores was lower. We found that high concentrations were recorded in sites with low host density (Leicester, Worcester), and low concentrations in Kastamonu with high host density. This suggests that south European and SW Asian forests may be less severely affected by Ganoderma. This study highlights the effectiveness of monitoring airborne Ganoderma spore concentrations as a tool for assessing local Ganoderma pathogen infection levels.