Mechanistic models to meet the challenge of climate change in plant-pathogen systems

Juliana Jiranek, Ian F. Miller, Ruby An, Emme Bruns, C. Jessica E. Metcalf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Evidence that climate change will impact the ecology and evolution of individual plant species is growing. However, little, as yet, is known about how climate change will affect interactions between plants and their pathogens. Climate drivers could affect the physiology, and thus demography, and ultimately evolutionary processes affecting both plant hosts and their pathogens. Because the impacts of climate drivers may operate in different directions at different scales of infection, and, furthermore, may be nonlinear, abstracting across these processes may mis-specify outcomes. Here, we use mechanistic models of plant-pathogen interactions to illustrate how counterintuitive outcomes are possible, and we introduce how such framing may contribute to understanding climate effects on plant-pathogen systems. We discuss the evidence-base derived from wild and agricultural plant-pathogen systems that could inform such models, specifically in the direction of estimates of physiological, demographic and evolutionary responses to climate change. We conclude by providing an overview of knowledge gaps and directions for future research in this important area. This article is part of the theme issue 'Infectious disease ecology and evolution in a changing world'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20220017
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1873
StatePublished - Mar 27 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • climate change
  • mechanistic model
  • plant pathogen


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