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Title: Disruption of the ‘disease triangle’ by chemical and physical environmental change

Author: Chappelka, A. H.; Grulke, N. E.; De Kok, L.;

Date: 2015

Source: Plant Biology

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The physical and chemical environment of the Earth has changed rapidly over the last 100 years and is predicted to continue to change into the foreseeable future. One of the main concerns with potential alterations in climate is the propensity for increases in the magnitude and frequency of extremes to occur. Even though precipitation is predicted to increase in some locations, in others precipitation is expected to decrease and evapotranspiration increase with air temperature, resulting in exacerbated drought in the future. Chemical [ozone (O3) and other air contaminants] and subsequent physical alterations in the environment will have a profound effect on the ‘disease triangle’ (a favourable environment, a susceptible host and a virulent pathogen) and should be included in any analysis of biological response to climate change. The chemical and physical environment affects plant health and alters plant susceptibility to insect and pathogen attack through increased frequency, duration and severity of drought and reduction in host vigour. The potential effects of climate change and O3 on tree diseases with emphasis on the western United States are discussed. We describe a generalised modelling approach to incorporate the complexities of the ‘disease triangle’ into dynamic vegetation models.

Keywords: Climate change, disease triangle, plant pests, tree diseases, tropospheric ozone.

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Chappelka, A.H.; Grulke, N.E.; De Kok, L. 2015. Disruption of the ‘disease triangle’ by chemical and physical environmental change. Plant Biology: doi:10.1111/plb.12353.


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