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Phenology of plant pathogenic fungi: why and how ?

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Marie-Odile Bancal
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Cédric Dresch
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I. García de Cortázar-Atauri
Christel Leyronas
Marie-Hélène Robin
Tiphaine Vidal


The timing of key events in fungal species life cycle has been studied at different spatial and temporal scales, in particular timing of reproduction (fungal fruiting) and more rarely timing of dispersal (spore release; Peay et al., 2012). However, the “phenology” of plant pathogenic fungi is rarely monitored, likely due to the difficulty to observe the different life stages of microscopic organisms, and has rarely been formally studied per se in the literature. To our knowledge, there is no global scale for rating the phenology of plant pathogenic fungi sensu lato. However, such a tool would make it possible to study, understand and compare the impacts of climate change and changing practices on plant health (Bebber, 2015; Corredor-Moreno & Saunders, 2020). In this respect, it could prove useful for surveying, anticipating, and managing situations at risk of epidemics, and thus facilitating the adoption of alternative methods. Fungal and fungal-like organisms belong to a large diversity of genera and species, differing in morphology or specific stages in life cycles for example. Despite this diversity, all pathogenic fungal divisions share some key features and development stages (e.g. spore, spore germination, mycelial growth, reproduction, conservation). We developed the FunScale, a phenological scale adapted for plant pathogenic fungi. This scale was constructed by identifying life stages common to the different kingdoms and divisions (main and secondary stages) and specific to each division considered (tertiary stage). However, the use of this scale remains dependent on the observation of signs and symptoms on the host plant, which led us to develop a lexicon associated with an image database. We are currently testing the relevance and genericity of this scale on pathogenic fungi infecting different crops (annual and perennial), whose biological cycles are particularly contrasted. We argue that the proposed phenological scale will allow to examine the major biophysical evolutions, because the phenology of fungi reflects the variability of both biotic and abiotic environments. In particular, using a common phenological scale to monitor pathogenic fungal development will set the stage for a global assessment of the presence, absence, or predominance of a particular phase, the speed of succession of phenological phases, the synchronism shift between fungi and host plants, in a large range of environments and ecosystems. Finally, FunScale is also an interesting methodological tool for modeling, either upstream to build or improve models, or downstream in a heuristic approach for model evaluation and questioning. Bebber, D. P., & Gurr, S. J. (2015). Crop-destroying fungal and oomycete pathogens challenge food security. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 74, 62-64. doi:10.1016/j.fgb.2014.10.012 Corredor-Moreno, P., & Saunders, D. G. O. (2020). Expecting the unexpected: factors influencing the emergence of fungal and oomycete plant pathogens. New Phytologist, 225(1), 118-125. doi:10.1111/nph.16007 Peay, K. G., Schubert, M. G., Nguyen, N. H., & Bruns, T. D. (2012). Measuring ectomycorrhizal fungal dispersal: macroecological patterns driven by microscopic propagules. Molecular Ecology, 21(16), 4122-4136. doi:
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hal-03752744 , version 1 (17-08-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03752744 , version 1


Chloe E. L. Delmas, Marie-Odile Bancal, Cédric Dresch, I. García de Cortázar-Atauri, Christel Leyronas, et al.. Phenology of plant pathogenic fungi: why and how ?. PHENOLOGY 2022, Jun 2022, Avignon, France. ⟨hal-03752744⟩


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