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Impacts of the invasive pathogen Austropuccinia psidii (Myrtle rust) on Australian native communities

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:37 authored by Laura Fernandez Winzer
Despite ongoing research into the invasion of the fungal pathogen Austropuccinia psidii (myrtle rust) in Australia, few studies have attempted to examine the impacts it has on natural native communities at both the species- and community-level. This is surprising considering that it infects the Myrtaceae, one of the dominant plant families in Australia. Furthermore, the lack of a national program collating data on A. psidii spread, hosts and impacts makes restoration and conservation decision making challenging for natural resource managers. Therefore, the overarching aim of this thesis was to determine the impacts of the invasive pathogen Austropuccinia psidii on Australian native vegetation communities. Specifically, this thesis determines the geographic extent and impacts of A. psidii on Australian native vegetation communities from the outcomes of a survey distributed to researchers, land managers and government employees (Chapter 2); the susceptibility of 24 previously untested species/sub-species with a particular emphasis on endangered species (Chapter 3); the impacts of A. psidii on plant architecture, growth and biomass allocation of susceptible species after fire under controlled glasshouse conditions (Chapter 4); and finally the indirect and direct impacts of A. psidii on community species richness and abundance through a large scale field experiment (Chapter 5). Altogether, this suite of studies represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the A. psidii invasion in eastern Australian vegetation communities. The outcome of this contribution will hopefully be to inform and assist the successful conservation of one of the most iconic plant families in Australia as well as the communities that they define.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Myrtle rust on the move : new insights to the distribution and hosts of Austropuccinia psidii in Australia -- Chapter 3. Endangered species face an extra threat : susceptibility to the invasive pathogen Austropuccinia psidii (myrtle rust) within Australia -- Chapter 4. Plant architecture, growth and biomass allocation effects of the invasive pathogen myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) on Australian Myrtaceae species after fire -- Chapter 5. Direct and indirect community effects of an invasive plant pathogen (Austropuccinia psidii) in eastern Australian rainforests -- Chapter 6. Discussion -- Appendices.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Biological Sciences

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Michelle Leishman

Additional Supervisor 1

Angus Carnegie

Additional Supervisor 2

Geoff Pegg


Copyright Laura Fernandez Winzer 2018. Copyright disclaimer:






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