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Are migratory waterfowl vectors of seagrass pathogens?

February 4, 2020

Migratory waterfowl vector plant seeds and other tissues, but little attention has focused on the potential of avian vectoring of plant pathogens. Extensive meadows of eelgrass (Zostera marina) in southwest Alaska support hundreds of thousands of waterfowl during fall migration and may be susceptible to plant pathogens. We recovered DNA of organisms pathogenic to eelgrass from environmental samples and in the cloacal contents of eight of nine waterfowl species that annually migrate along the Pacific coast of North America and Asia. Coupled with a signal of asymmetrical gene flow of eelgrass running counter to that expected from oceanic and coastal currents between Large Marine Ecosystems, this evidence suggests waterfowl are vectors of eelgrass pathogens.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Are migratory waterfowl vectors of seagrass pathogens?
DOI 10.1002/ece3.6039
Authors Damian M. Menning, David H. Ward, Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria, Kevin Sage, Megan C. Gravley, Hunter Gravley, Sandra L. Talbot
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology and Evolution
Index ID 70209595
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB