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A computer model to simulate the dynamics of mummy berry disease transmission in wild blueberry production

Seanna Annis: University of Maine

<div><em>Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi </em>(MVC), causing mummy berry, can cause significant crop losses in North American blueberries. Disease levels are affected by interactions among factors, such as inoculum level, variation in blueberry genotypes, pathogen vectors (pollinators), and weather conditions. The goal of this study was to develop a computer simulation model of the infection, spread and effects on the host of MVC in wild blueberry that is dynamic spatially and temporaly, and provides a tool for evaluating changes in abiotic and biotic factors and their impact on disease. Published and field data have been used to estimate the parameters affecting pseudosclerotia germination, ascospore dispersal, primary infection, conidia production, conidia transmission by bees, and secondary fruit infection. The information is included in a GAMA computer simulation model that simulates mummy berry transmission dynamics by computing the effects of plant, fungus and pollinating insects (vectors of conidia), and weather and landscape factors that drive spore dispersal, infection, pollination, and resulting disease loss and yield. The simulated outcomes have been validated with field collected data. The model can be used to evaluate the effects of different scenarios, such as field size, pollinators, and control methods on resulting disease levels. This model can be modified for use in other blueberry cropping systems to determine the effects of inputs on mummy berry severity.</div>