The effect of host community functional traits on plant disease risk varies along an elevational gradient

  1. Fletcher W Halliday  Is a corresponding author
  2. Mikko Jalo
  3. Anna-Liisa Laine
  1. University of Zürich, Switzerland
  2. University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract

Quantifying the relative impact of environmental conditions and host community structure on disease is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, as both climate and biodiversity are changing at unprecedented rates. Both increasing temperature and shifting host communities towards more fast-paced life-history strategies are predicted to increase disease, yet their independent and interactive effects on disease in natural communities remains unknown. Here, we address this challenge by surveying foliar disease symptoms in 220, 0.5 meter-diameter herbaceous plant communities along a 1100-meter elevational gradient. We find that increasing temperature associated with lower elevation can increase disease by (1) relaxing constraints on parasite growth and reproduction, (2) determining which host species are present in a given location, and (3) strengthening the positive effect of host community pace-of-life on disease. These results provide the first field evidence, under natural conditions, that environmental gradients can alter how host community structure affects disease.

Data availability

The data and code supporting the results are available on Figshare (DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.14058059) and Github (https://github.com/fhalliday/Calanda19)

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Fletcher W Halliday

    Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
    For correspondence
    Fletcher.w.halliday@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3953-0861
  2. Mikko Jalo

    Faculty of Biological and Environmental sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Anna-Liisa Laine

    Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0703-5850

Funding

Academy of Finland (296686)

  • Anna-Liisa Laine

European Research Council (724508)

  • Anna-Liisa Laine

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Yuxin Chen, Xiamen University, China

Publication history

  1. Received: February 8, 2021
  2. Accepted: May 10, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 13, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 16, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Halliday et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Fletcher W Halliday
  2. Mikko Jalo
  3. Anna-Liisa Laine
(2021)
The effect of host community functional traits on plant disease risk varies along an elevational gradient
eLife 10:e67340.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.67340
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