Geographical patterns of variation in susceptibility of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus obliqua to myrtle rust

  • Wilson Thau Lym YongEmail author
  • Peter K. Ades
  • Gerd Bossinger
  • Fatima Akter Runa
  • Karanjeet S. Sandhu
  • Brad M. Potts
  • Josquin F. G. Tibbits
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Disease Resistance


Myrtle rust, caused by the pathogen Austropuccinia psidii, is a disease affecting numerous species of Myrtaceae around the globe. Many Australian ecosystems are dominated by Myrtaceae, making them, along with the industries that rely on them, particularly vulnerable to this disease. With over 800 endemic species, Eucalyptus is a major genus within the Myrtaceae in Australia. Wide variation in response to A. psidii infection, from extreme susceptibility to resistance, has been reported among Eucalyptus species in which any pre-formed resistance to this invasive pathogen is unexpected. This study aims to define and contrast geographical patterns of variation in rust susceptibility within the overlapping, natural ranges of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus obliqua, two commercially and ecologically important species from different Eucalyptus subgenera. Phenotypic disease screening of seedlings of E. globulus races and E. obliqua forest districts (defined geographically) showed E. obliqua to be more susceptible than E. globulus with significant differences in disease susceptibility and symptomatic trait expression. Eucalyptus globulus showed a trend for decreased susceptibility to A. psidii from south- to north-eastern Tasmania, eastwards along the Otway Ranges and southward from the Strzelecki Ranges to the Wilson Promontory Lighthouse in Victoria, but no such geographical patterns were observed within E. obliqua. No significant correlations were found between climatic conditions (i.e. rainfall, temperature and elevation) and rust susceptibility at provenance levels in either species. Taken together, these results support a hypothesis that population divergence in resistance to A. psidii has not been driven by climate.


Austropuccinia psidii Climatic conditions Geographical variation Mixed effects analysis Disease resistance Rust susceptibility 



The authors would like to thank Alice Gower, Hossein Valipour Kahrood and Sara Ohadi for their excellent technical support and Robert Park for having made available the specialised rust glasshouse facilities at the University of Sydney.

Funding information

This project was supported by Australian Research Council ARC-Linkage Project LP13010045 and associated partners. W.T.L. Yong received a scholarship from the Malaysian government via the Academic Training Scheme of Public Higher Education Institutions (Skim Latihan Akademik Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam, SLAI).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data archiving statement

Data are provided as supplementary material

Supplementary material

11295_2019_1338_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (391 kb)
ESM 1 Results of myrtle rust screening for Eucalyptus globulus (XLSX 390 kb)
11295_2019_1338_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (71 kb)
ESM 2 Results of myrtle rust screening for Eucalyptus obliqua (XLSX 70 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biotechnology Research InstituteUniversiti Malaysia SabahKota KinabaluMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Ecosystem and Forest SciencesThe University of MelbourneCreswickAustralia
  3. 3.School of Ecosystem and Forest SciencesThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  4. 4.School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Plant Breeding InstituteThe University of SydneyCobbittyAustralia
  5. 5.School of Natural Sciences and ARC Training Centre for Forest ValueUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  6. 6.Agriculture VictoriaDepartment of Jobs, Precincts and RegionsBundooraAustralia

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