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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Urbanization affects oak-pathogen interactions across spatial scales

van Dijk, Laura J. A.; Moreira, Xoaquin; Barr, Anna E.; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Faticov, Maria; Hardwick, Bess; ten Hoopen, Jan P. J. G.; de la Mata, Raul; Pires, Ricardo Matheus; Roslin, Tomas; Schigel, Dmitry S.; Timmermans, Bart G. H.; Tack, Ayco J. M.


The world is rapidly urbanizing, thereby transforming natural landscapes and changing the abundance and distribution of organisms. However, insights into the effects of urbanization on species interactions, and plant-pathogen interactions in particular, are lacking. We investigated the effects of urbanization on powdery mildew infection on Quercus robur at continental and within-city scales. At the continental scale, we compared infection levels between urban and rural areas of different-sized cities in Europe, and investigated whether plant traits, climatic variables and CO2 emissions mediated the effect of urbanization on infection levels. Within one large city (Stockholm, Sweden), we further explored whether local habitat features and spatial connectivity influenced infection levels during multiple years. At the continental scale, infection severity was consistently higher on trees in urban than rural areas, with some indication that temperature mediated this effect. Within Stockholm city, temperature had no effect, while local accumulation of leaf litter negatively affected powdery mildew incidence in one out of three years, and more connected trees had lower infection levels. This study is the first to describe the effects of urbanization on plant-pathogen interactions both within and among cities, and to uncover the potential mechanisms behind the observed patterns at each scale.


connectivity; local habitat quality; oak powdery mildew; phenolic compounds; plant-pathogen interactions; Quercus robur

Published in

2021, number: 1
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

van Dijk, Laura J. A.
Stockholm University
Moreira, Xoaquin
CSIC - Mision Biologica de Galicia (MBG)
Barr, Anna E.
Stockholm University
Abdala-Roberts, Luis
Autonomous University of Yucatan
Castagneyrol, Bastien
Universite de Bordeaux
Faticov, Maria
Stockholm University
Hardwick, Bess
University of Helsinki
Ten Hoopen, Jan P. J. G.
Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA)
de la Mata, Raul
Pires, Ricardo Matheus
Instituto de Botanica - Sao Paulo
University of Helsinki
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Schigel, Dmitry S.
University of Helsinki
Timmermans, Bart G. H.
Louis Bolk Inst
Tack, Ayco J. M.
Stockholm University

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