Aerial transport alone is seldom responsible for the introduction of nonindigenous species into distant regions; however, the capacity to use the atmospheric pathway for rapid spread in large part determines the invasive potential of organisms once they are introduced. Because physical and biological features of Earth's surface influence the routes and timing of organisms that use the atmospheric pathway, long-distance movement of aerobiota is largely regular and thus predictable. Soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi), potentially the most destructive foliar disease of soybean, recently invaded North America. The concepts presented in this article form the basis of the soybean rust aerobiology prediction system (SRAPS) that was developed to assess potential pathogen movement from South America to the United States. Output from SRAPS guided the scouting operations after the initial discovery of soybean rust in Louisiana. Subsequent observations of P. pachyrhizi in the southeastern United States provide validation of the modeling effort.
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