Virus Ecology Network
NSF-funded Research Coordination Network
Welcome to the Plant Virus Ecology Network Web Site
Plant Virus Ecology: a Young Discipline
- Plant virus ecology, an
- examines the ecological
roles of plant-associated viruses in managed
and unmanaged ecosystems, and
- investigates the
reciprocal influence of ecosystem properties on the
distribution and evolution of plant viruses.
- It is important because
- viruses are highly mobile,
broadly distributed agents that can cause
substantial mortality of wild and crop plants and
- move genetic elements
between hosts-- including potentially between
genetically engineered plants and non-target species.
- While humans
have observed the effects of viruses on wild plants for more than a
millennium, understanding of viruses as infectious agents has emerged
only in the last century and only in the last decade or so have
molecular techniques begun to allow detailed examination of patterns of
virus diversity and distribution in nature.
Virus Ecology: Need for Coordination
- Development of plant virus
ecology as a field has lagged because of
- limits in diagnostic tools
- historic separations
between ecology and virology.
- The two
disciplines developed independently with little intellectual exchange.
- many ecologists are
unaware of the extent of virus infection in wild
- many virologists are
unfamiliar with methods for examining the
ecological consequences of such infection.
- Accelerating the
development of plant virus ecology will allow addressing important
societal questions, such as
- risks of virus-mediated
gene flow from GMOs and of recombination
between virus-derived trans-genes and endogenous viruses,
- influence of management
practices and ecological factors on virus
distribution and emergence of new pathogenic strains, and
- potential use of plant
viruses by bioterrorists.
- The Plant Virus Ecology
Research Coordination Network (RCN) will
bring together an initial core of researchers (virological through
ecological) currently working on aspects of plant virus ecology in US
and international laboratories-a group not previously assembled.
- Through a series of initial
annual meetings, workshops, and mediated
discussions, the RCN will evaluate infrastructural needs, prioritize a
research agenda, and take steps to expand the emerging community and
build long-term support needed for the field.
- First PVEN Workshop was
held in E. Lansing MI 18-21 March 2008.
engage young people and the general public from diverse backgrounds,
the RCN will develop a prototype interactive plant virus ecology
exhibit and public school outreach programs with a nationally regarded
Carolyn Malmström, Co-coordinator
Nilsa Bosque Pérez
The PVEN is funded by a grant
from the US National Science Foundation
Grant no. IOS-0639139
May 2007 -May 2012
Interested in joining this
See the PVEN Contact Page.
include a description of your interests relative to Plant Virus
Ecology. Should you have particular interest in reaching out to the
general public, in developing educational materials or in setting
priorities for the field, please also communicate those interests.
Updated 20 October 2011