Alison G Power



I teach a variety of courses at Cornell including: BioEE 1610 Ecology and the Environment, IARD 6040 Food Systems and Poverty Reduction: Concepts and Themes, and IARD 6060 Food Systems and Poverty Reduction: Integration.

Research Focus

My research program focuses on disease ecology in plant communities. Using manipulative field and greenhouse experiments, my students and I have examined how landscape heterogeneity, plant community diversity and composition, host genetic diversity, and plant density and dispersion affect herbivores and pathogens in natural and agricultural ecosystems. We have addressed these topics in various locations in the U.S., Central America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. I am particularly interested in the influence of plant community structure on the epidemiology of insect-borne pathogens of plants, along with the reciprocal impacts of pathogens on the structure of plant communities. In recent years, we have used a group of aphid-transmitted viruses, widespread pathogens of grasses, as a model system to address virus dynamics in western grasslands, co-infection by multiple pathogens, and the ecological risks of transgenic virus resistance in crops. I also have a long-standing interest in agroecology and the interface between food security, food systems, and ecosystem services to and from agricultural systems.


  • Vollmer, D., et al.  2018.  Integrating the social, hydrological and ecological dimensions of freshwater health: the Freshwater Health Index. Science of the Total Environment 627:304–313.
  • Marchetto, K.M., and A.G. Power.  2018.  Context-dependent interactions between pathogens and a mutualist affect pathogen fitness and mutualist benefits to hosts.  Ecology, in press.
  • Claflin, S.B, L. Jones, J. Thaler, and A.G. Power. 2017. Crop-dominated landscapes have higher vector-borne plant virus prevalence. Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1190–1198. DOI:10.1111/1365-2664.12831.
  • Claflin, S.B, J. Thaler, and A.G. Power. 2017. Aphid density and community composition differentially affect apterous aphid movement and plant virus transmission. Ecological Entomology 42:245–254. DOI:10.1111/een.12381.
  • Hilker, F. M., et al. 2017. Modelling virus coinfection to inform management of maize lethal necrosis in Kenya. Phytopathology 107:1095-1108. DOI: 10.1094/PHYTO-03-17-0080-FI
  • Kendig, A. E., E. T. Borer, C. E. Mitchell, A. G. Power, and E. W. Seabloom. 2017. Characteristics and drivers of plant virus community spatial patterns in U.S. West Coast grasslands. Oikos 126:1281-1290. DOI: 10.1111/oik.04178.
  • Marchetto, K.M., and A.G. Power. 2017. Coinfection timing drives host population dynamics through changes in virulence. American Naturalist 191:173–183.
  • Shaw, A., A. Peace, A. Power, and N. Bosque-Perez. 2017. Vector population growth and condition-dependent movement drive the spread of plant pathogens.  Ecology 98:2145-2157. DOI:10.1002/ecy.1907
  • Seabloom, E. W., et al. 2015. The community ecology of pathogens: coinfection, coexistence and community composition. Ecology Letters 18:401–415.  DOI: 10.1111/ele.12418
  • ​Lacroix, C., A. Jolles, E. W. Seabloom, A. G. Power, C. E. Mitchell, and E. T. Borer. 2014.  Non-random biodiversity loss underlies predictable increases in viral disease prevalence. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 11: 20130947. doi:10.1098/rsif.2013.0947
  • Seabloom, E. W., E. T. Borer, C. Lacroix, C. E. Mitchell, and A. G. Power. 2013. Richness and composition of niche-assembled viral pathogen communities. PLOS One 8: e55675.  DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0055675
  • F. Stuart Chapin, III, et al. 2011. Earth stewardship: science for action to sustain the human-earth system.  Ecosphere 2:89. DOI:10.1890/ES11-00166.1.
  • Rua, M. A, E. C Pollina, A. G. Power and C. E. Mitchell. 2011. The role of viruses in biological invasions: friend or foe? Current Opinion in Virology 1:68–72.
  • Power, A.G. 2011. A multi-scale, landscape approach to predicting insect populations in agro-ecosystems.  Ecological Applications 21:1782-1791.
  • Power, A.G., E.T. Borer, P.R. Hosseini, C. E. Mitchell, and E. W. Seabloom. 2011. The community ecology of barley/cereal yellow dwarf viruses in Western US grasslands.  Virus Research 159:95-100.
  • Borer, E.T., E.W. Seabloom, C.E. Mitchell, and A.G. Power. 2010. Local context drives infection of grasses by vector-borne generalist viruses.  Ecology Letters 13:810-818.
  • Hall, G.S., J.S. Peters, D.P. Little, and A.G. Power. 2010. Plant community diversity influences vector behaviour and barley yellow dwarf virus population structure.  Plant Pathology 59:1152-1158.
  • Power, A.G. 2010. Ecosystem services and agriculture: tradeoffs and synergies.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365:2959-2971.
  • Seabloom, E.W., C.E. Mitchell, A.G. Power, and E.T. Borer. 2010. Viral diversity and prevalence gradients in North American Pacific coast grasslands. Ecology 91:721-732.
  • Borer, E.T., C.E. Mitchell, A.G. Power, and E.W. Seabloom. 2009. Consumers indirectly increase infection risk in grassland food webs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106:503-506.
  • Power, A.G. 2008. Community ecology of plant viruses. In: Plant virus evolution (M. Roossinck, ed.). Pp. 15-26. Springer, New York.
  • Power, A.G. and C.E. Mitchell. 2004. Pathogen spillover in disease epidemics. The American Naturalist 164:S79-S89.
  • Mitchell, C. E. and A. G. Power. 2003. Release of invasive plants from fungal and viral pathogens. Nature 421:625-627.

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