andersen et al_2019_modeling epidemics in seed systems and landscapes to guide management strategies3.pdf (9.43 MB)

Modeling epidemics in seed systems and landscapes to guide management strategies: the case of sweet potato in Northern Uganda

Download (9.43 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 21:15 authored by Kelsey Andersen, Chris BuddenhagenChris Buddenhagen, Paul Rachara, Richard Gibson, Stephen Kalule, David Phillips, Karen Garrett
Seed systems are critical for deployment of improved varieties but also can serve as major conduits for the spread of seedborne pathogens. As in many other epidemic systems, epidemic risk in seed systems often depends on the structure of networks of trade, social interactions, and landscape connectivity. In a case study, we evaluated the structure of an informal sweet potato seed system in the Gulu region of northern Uganda for its vulnerability to the spread of emerging epidemics and its utility for disseminating improved varieties. Seed transaction data were collected by surveying vine sellers weekly during the 2014 growing season. We combined data from these observed seed transactions with estimated dispersal risk based on village-to-village proximity to create a multilayer network or “supranetwork.” Both the inverse power law function and negative exponential function, common models for dispersal kernels, were evaluated in a sensitivity analysis/ uncertainty quantification across a range of parameters chosen to represent spread based on proximity in the landscape. In a set of simulation experiments, we modeled the introduction of a novel pathogen and evaluated the influence of spread parameters on the selection of villages for surveillance and management. We found that the starting position in the network was critical for epidemic progress and final epidemic outcomes, largely driven by node out-degree. The efficacy of node centrality measures was evaluated for utility in identifying villages in the network to manage and limit disease spread. Node degree often performed as well as other, more complicated centrality measures for the networks where village-to-village spread was modeled by the inverse power law, whereas betweenness centrality was often more effective for negative exponential dispersal. This analysis framework can be applied to provide recommendations for a wide variety of seed systems.


Rights statement

Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY 4.0 International license.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title





Andersen, K. F., Buddenhagen, C. E., Rachara, P., Gibson, R., Kalule, S., Phillips, D., & Garrett, K. A. (2019). Modeling epidemics in seed systems and landscapes to guide management strategies: the case of sweet potato in Northern Uganda. Phytopathology, 109(9), 1519-1532. doi:10.1094/PHYTO-03-18-0072-R

Usage metrics


    Ref. manager