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The Effects of Dispersal Gradient and Pathogen Life Cycle Components on Epidemic Velocity in Computer Simulations

September 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  9
Pages  992 - 1,000

Kathryn E. Sackett and Christopher C. Mundt

Botany and Plant Pathology Department, 2082 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331

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Accepted for publication 30 April 2005.

The velocity of expansion of focal epidemics was studied using an updated version of the simulation model EPIMUL, with model parameters relevant to wheat stripe rust. The modified power law, the exponential model, and Lambert's general model were fit to primary disease gradient data from an artificially initiated field epidemic of stripe rust and employed to describe dispersal in simulations. The exponential model, which fit the field data poorly (R 2 = 0.728 to 0.776), yielded an epidemic that expanded as a traveling wave (i.e., at a constant velocity), after an initial buildup period. Both the modified power law and the Lambert model fit the field data well (R2 = 0.962 to 0.988) and resulted in dispersive epidemic waves (velocities increased over time for the entire course of the epidemic). The field epidemic also expanded as a dispersive wave. Using parameters based on the field epidemic and modified power law dispersal as a baseline, life cycle components of the pathogen (lesion growth rate, latent period, infectious period, and multiplication rate) and dispersal gradient steepness were varied within biologically reasonable ranges for this disease to test their effect on dispersive wave epidemics. All components but the infectious period had a strong influence on epidemic velocity, but none changed the general pattern of velocity increasing over time.

Additional keywords: Puccinia striiformis , Triticum aestivum .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society