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Mathematical models to understand plant disease epidemics and their control

Posted by: Colleen MacMillan

May 25, 2017


Tuesday 23 May 2017


12:30-13:30 (AEST)


CSIRO: Black Mountain – Discovery Theatre, St Lucia QBP – Level 3 South telepresence room (3.323), Floreat – B1b Boardroom, Waite – B101-FG-R00-SmallWICWest


Melen Leclerc, Researcher in Plant Epidemiology, Plant Health and Environment division, INRA France.


By presenting past and ongoing works on both soilborne and aerial pathogens, in this talk I illustrate how mathematical models associated with experimental data can provide new insights into the dynamics and the control of plant disease epidemics. I begin  by presenting a mixture of spatio-temporal models and field experimentations that have been used for investigating the spread of the soilborne pathogen Rhizoctonia solani on sugar beet and its control by biofumigation. Then, I introduce a modelling framework which is currently developed for the spread of aerial diseases at the canopy level. It takes into account 1) the dynamics of the host-canopy with growth and defoliation, 2) the dynamics of the pathogen, 3) feedback effects of disease on the canopy and 4) feedback effects of the canopy on the epidemics. I show how these models are used to analyse experimental data obtained on the late blight of potato for two genotypes with contrasted architectures. To finish with I present a simple mechanistic model which have been developed for assessing life-history traits of fungal parasites with growing lesions. I illustrate how such model can provide interesting knowledge on plant-pathogen interactions with results  obtained for a range of Phytophthora infestans strains on various resistant potato cultivars. I finish the talk by presenting some perspectives and by discussing  the interest of epidemiological models for the design of efficient crop protection strategies.


Melen Leclerc is a Researcher in Plant Epidemiology, in the Plant Health and Environment division at INRA, France. He completed a PhD in the modelling and experimentation of the spatio-temporal spread of soilborne pathogens at Cambridge University in 2013, followed by a postdoctoral position at INRA in developing models to assess the risk of GM crops on non-target organisms at the landscape scale. Melen has been in his current role since 2014, where his research is focused on combining mathematical modelling and experimentation to develop and test models, in order to identify the mechanisms that drive the dynamics and the control of epidemics.


This is a public seminar.

NO visitor pass is required for non-CSIRO attendees going to Discovery Lecture Theatre