Modeling nutrient and disease dynamics in a plant-pathogen system


Human activities alter elemental nutrient cycling, which can have profound impacts on agriculture, grasslands, lakes, and other systems. It is becoming increasingly clear that enhanced nitrogen and phosphorus levels can affect disease dynamics across a range of taxa. However, there are few mathematical models that explicitly incorporate nutrients into host-pathogen interactions. Using viral load and plant mass data from an experiment with cereal yellow dwarf virus and its host plant, Avena sativa, we propose and compare two models describing the overall infection dynamics. However, the first model considers nutrient-limited virus production while the other considers a nutrient-induced viral production delay. A virus reproduction number is derived for this nutrient model, which depends on environmental and physiological attributes. Results suggest that including nutrient mediated viral production mechanisms can give rise to robust models that can be used to untangle how nutrients impact pathogen dynamics.

Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 16(1)
Amy E. Kendig
Amy E. Kendig
Postdoctoral Researcher

ecologist and data scientist specializing in human impacts in plant communities