Archive

Archive for the ‘Climate change impact’ Category

Agrobiodiversity in a changing world

July 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Exotic species that invade new areas cause economic loss annually nearly tenfold that of natural disasters. The economic impact of such biological invasions has been considerable also in agriculture, with many major agricultural pests being invasive species, which number is expected to increase given the combined action of climate warming and globalization, particularly in the Mediterranean Basin. This region is rich in natural and agricultural biodiversity but also considerably vulnerable to biological invasions that threaten key elements of Mediterranean agro-biodiversity such as the traditional perennial crops grape and olive. Currently, most major threats to grape and olive culture are invasive species – often vector borne diseases so serious that the only control method is removal and destruction of infected crop plants. However, how to assess the potential impact of such invasive threats, and hence how to manage them, remains an unresolved and largely unexplored problem. Gaps exist between theory and management of invasive species, mostly due to a limited ability to assess their ecological and economic impact. Mechanistic process-based demographic approaches such as physiologically-based demographic models (PBDMs) have the capacity to bridge these gaps, as they address many of the shortcomings that affect mainstream methods currently used to assess invasive species under climate change.

Ponti L., Gutierrez A.P., 2015. Climate change and invasive species, with a particular focus on vine and olives. A (bio) diverse world: agro-biodiversity in a changing world, EXPO Milano 2015, Milano, Italy, 6 May 2015. http://cascina.fondazionetriulza.org/en/initiative/un-mondo-biodiverso-lagrobiodiversita-in-un-mondo-che-cambia/44/

Advertisements

Risk assessment for tiger mosquito in Europe

July 19, 2015 Leave a comment

The Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus) is indigenous to the oriental region, but is now widespread throughout the world. It is an aggressive mosquito, which causes nuisance and is well known vector of important human disease. It is one of the world’s most invasive species and is now invading Europe by both natural means and human assisted dispersal. Currently, there is no consensus on the limits of its potential geographic distribution in Europe. For this reason, studying the role that environmental driving variables, mainly temperature, play in determining the spatial variation of the potential population abundance of the mosquito should be considered a high priority. To assess the risk posed by Ae. albopictus to Europe, a lattice model based on the temperature-dependent physiologically based demographic modelling approach has been developed and is being tested against field observations. The area of potential distribution of this insect is simulated as driven by current climate and climate change scenarios. An index of population abundance is derived in order to investigate the average annual abundance as well as the change in the pattern of population dynamics as a function of the local climatic conditions. Uncertainty affecting model parameters is also considered and the implication on model simulation is evaluated.

Gilioli G., Pasquali S., Ponti L., Calvitti M., Moretti R., Gutierrez A.P., 2015. Modelling the potential distribution and abundance of Aedes albopictus in Europe under climate change. Impact of Environmental Changes on Infectious Diseases, Sitges, Spain, 23-25 March 2015. http://www.iecid2015.com

Area of potential establishment for the tiger mosquito in Europe under +2 °C climate warming.

GlobalChangeBiology project story published

December 19, 2014 Leave a comment

A story about the GlobalChangeBiology project was published on the Horizon 2020 website in the Projects Stories section. The European Commission DG Research had commissioned an article on the GlobalChangeBiology project for publication on the DG Research website under “success stories”. After an interview by a professional writer, the article was prepared and eventually selected for publication on the official website of the European Commission.

European Commission, 2014. Modelling climate impacts on crops and pests. http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/modelling-climate-impacts-crops-and-pests

Holistic approach in invasive species research

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

The Mediterranean Basin is a climate change and biological invasion hotspot where recent warming is facilitating the establishment and spread of invasive species, one of which is the highly destructive South American tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta). This pest recently invaded the Mediterranean Basin where it threatens solanaceous crops. Holistic approaches are required to project the potential geographic distribution and relative abundance of invasive species and hence are pivotal to developing sound policy for their management. This need is increasing dramatically in the face of a surge in biological invasions and climate change. However, while holistic analyses of invasive species are often advocated, they are rarely implemented. We propose that physiologically-based demographic models (PBDMs) in the context of a geographic information system (GIS) can provide the appropriate level of synthesis required to capture the complex interactions basic to manage invasive species such as T. absoluta. We review the PBDMs for two invasive flies, and use them as a basis for assessing the biological data available for the development of a PBDM for T. absoluta, and in the process identify large data gaps that using the PBDM as a guide can be easily filled. Other components for an ecologically-based management program for this pest (habitat modification, natural and classical biocontrol, pheromones, and others) are also reviewed. The development of a PBDM for T. absoluta would provide the basis for an interdisciplinary agroecological synthesis of the problem and the role different control tactics would play in region-specific control of the pest.

Ponti L., Gutierrez A.P., Altieri M.A., 2015. Holistic approach in invasive species research: the case of the tomato leaf miner in the Mediterranean Basin. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2014.990074 | Get a free reprint

PBDM sub-models used for all species in all trophic levels.

The new world screwworm: distribution and eradication

February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

The new world screwworm Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) was eradicated in North America, Libya and other locations using the sterile insect technique (SIT). To examine the role of weather in its eradication, a physiologically-based demographic model (PBDM) was developed and used to characterize its range of year-round persistence. Winter temperature and rainfall are shown to have a strong influence on screwworm outbreaks and in facilitating eradication in North America and Libya. Prospective analysis for the Mediterranean Basin suggests eastern areas are most favorable for screwworm establishment (e.g., the Nile River area of Egypt). The SIT eradication programme and its possible extension into South America are discussed. Expected +2°C climate warming is predicted to increase the potential year-round range of screwworm in the SE USA.

Gutierrez A.P., Ponti L., 2014. The new world screwworm: prospective distribution and role of weather in eradication. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/afe.12046

Project summary

February 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Analytical tools that provide a synthesis of ecological data are increasingly needed to design and maintain sustainable agroecosystems increasingly disrupted by global change in the form of agro-technical inputs, invasive species, and climate change. This is particularly relevant to the Mediterranean Basin, a climate change hot-spot already threatened by local environmental changes including desertification. The project will provide important tools for summarizing, managing, and analyzing ecological data in agricultural systems to address global change effects using grape and olive as model systems. The project will integrate weather driven physiologically based Ecosystem Modelling (EM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to derive a dynamic understanding of complex agricultural systems in the face of global change including climate warming. Multivariate analyses will be used to summarize the main effect of model predictions in a space and time independent way to provide a solid but flexible basis for managing Mediterranean grape and olive systems in a changing global environment. The integrated EM/GIS system may be viewed as a library of the current knowledge about agroecosystems that can be extended to other systems, updated with new knowledge and used to help guide multidisciplinary research on local and regional scales. The need for extensive weather datasets to drive the models requires that the EM/GIS technology be linked with remote sensing (RS) to enhance spatial resolution of the approach and increase its real-world applications. This combined innovative EM/GIS/RS tool will provide European governmental agencies with the scientific basis for developing policy required to adjust to global change including climate warming.

This research is supported by a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant within the 7th European Community Framework Programme, project number 224091: “A physiologically-based weather-driven geospatial modelling approach to global change biology: tackling a multifaceted problem with an interdisciplinary tool”.