The fungus Fusarium graminearum causes Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat. Little is known about dispersal of the fungus from field-scale sources of inoculum. We monitored the movement of a clonal isolate of F. graminearum from a 3,716 m2 (0.372 ha) source of inoculum over two field seasons. Ground-based collection devices were placed at distances of 0 (in the source), 100, 250, 500, 750, and 1,000 m from the center of the clonal sources of inoculum. Three polymorphic microsatellites were used to identify the released clone from 1,027 isolates (790 in 2011 and 237 in 2012) of the fungus. Results demonstrated that the recovery of the released clone decreased at greater distances from the source. The majority (87%, 152/175 in 2011; 77%, 74/96 in 2012) of the released clone was recaptured during the night (1900 to 0700). The released clone was recovered up to 750 m from the source. Recovery of the released clone followed a logistic regression model and was significant (P < 0.041 for all slope term scenarios) as a function of distance from the source of inoculum. This work offers a means to experimentally determine the dispersal kernel of a plant pathogen, and could be integrated into management strategies for FHB.
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