Fishing for Phytophthora from Western Australia’s waterways: a distribution and diversity survey

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Australasian Plant Pathology


Halophytophthora, Oomycetes, Leaf bait, Phytopythium, River, Stream baiting


During one spring season, 12 Phytophthora species, two Phytophthora hybrids, three Halophytophthora species and three Phytopythium species, were isolated from 48 waterways across Western Australia. The waterways were sampled using nylon mesh bags containing leaf baits of up to six different plant species and were isolated by plating necrotic lesions on these onto Phytophthora-selective agar media. Phytophthora species were isolated from all except one waterway. Of the Phytophthora species isolated, eight are known while the remaining four are undescribed taxa. Six of the Phytophthora species and the two hybrids are from clade 6. The two hybrids and P. inundata were the predominant species recovered. Recoveries from different plant leaf baits varied with the best two baits being Pittosporum undulatum and Banksia attentuata; and from these two combined all Phytophthora species were isolated. There was a marked difference in the Phytophthora diversity in the waterways from different regions. This is the first comprehensive study from Australia to examine the Phytophthora communities in waterways, and advances our understanding of the role of these oomycetes in natural and anthropized ecosystems.