Co-evolutionary hot and cold spots of selective pressure move in space and time

D. L. Smith, L. Ericson, J. J. Burdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


A long-term study (19years) of a host-pathogen metapopulation involving 133-220 separate populations of the wild plant Filipendula ulmaria and its rust pathogen Triphragmium ulmariae shows marked changes in the occurrence (32-55% demes) and severity of disease and rates of extinction and re-establishment of individual populations (0.006-0.174 and 0.030-0.195 per annum, respectively) over time. Modelling of the spatio-temporal dynamics of disease demonstrated year-to-year changes associated with a range of different environmental features, but also more consistent, longer-term patterns influenced by a complex suite of factors. Both the level of disease and its spatial location varied through time and generated a changing pattern of selective pressure across the metapopulation. Synthesis. Our results suggest that co-evolutionary hot spots and cold spots can be highly dynamic within metapopulations, thereby fuelling the co-evolutionary process even more than previously suspected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-641
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Co-evolution
  • Disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Longitudinal study
  • Metapopulation
  • Plant-pathogen
  • Spatial pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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