Archive for the ‘Geographic distribution’ Category

Invasiveness of spotted wing Drosophila

September 10, 2016 Leave a comment

The polyphagous Asian vinegar fly Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing Drosophila) is a native of Eastern and Southeastern Asia. It emerged as an important invasive insect pest of berries and stone fruits in the Americas and Europe beginning in 2008. Species distribution models are commonly used for analyzing the extant and potential range expansion of invasive species. Previous modeling efforts for D. suzukii include a degree-day model, a MaxEnt ecological niche model, a demographic model incorporating the effects of temperature, and a preliminary mechanistic physiologically-based demographic model (PBDM). In the present analysis, we refine the PBDM for D. suzukii based on biological data reported in the literature. The PBDM is used to assess the effects of temperature and relative humidity from a recently published global climate dataset (AgMERRA) on the prospective geographic distribution and relative abundance of the pest in the USA and Mexico, and in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. Our focus is on areas of recent invasion and of predicted higher invasiveness in these areas. Although the species is native to Asia and is of putative temperate origins, it has established in subtropical to north temperate zones worldwide where it infests a wide range of wild and domesticated berries and stone fruits. The model captures the observed phenology of D. suzukii at specific locations, as well as the potential geographic distribution and relative favorability across larger regions. The main limiting factor is cold winter temperature in northern areas, though high temperatures and low relative humidity may be limiting in arid areas. The effect of greater cold tolerance in winter morph adults is explored.

Gutierrez A.P., Ponti L., Dalton D.T., 2016. Analysis of the invasiveness of spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) in North America, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin. Biological Invasions, | Full text free to view

Geographic distribution of  Drosophila suzukii in Europe.

PBDMs for evidence-based pest risk assessment

November 26, 2015 Leave a comment

The distribution and abundance of species that cause economic loss (i.e., pests) in crops, forests or livestock depends on many biotic and abiotic factors that are thought difficult to separate and quantify on geographical and temporal scales. However, the weather-driven biology and dynamics of such species and of relevant interacting species in their food chain or web can be captured via mechanistic physiologically based demographic models (PBDMs) that can be implemented in the context of a geographic information system (GIS) to project their potential geographic distribution and relative abundance given observed or climate change scenarios of weather. PBDMs may include bottom-up effects of the host on pest dynamics and, if appropriate, the top-down action of natural enemies. When driven by weather, PBDMs predict the phenology, age structure and abundance dynamics at one or many locations enabling projecting the distribution of the interacting species across wide geographic areas. PBDMs are able to capture relevant ecosystem complexity within a modest number of measurable parameters because they use the same ecological models of analogous resource acquisition and allocation processes across all trophic levels. The use of these analogies makes parameter estimation easier as the underlying functions are known. This is a significant advantage in cases where the available biological data is sparse.

Ponti L., Gilioli G., Biondi A., Desneux N., Gutierrez A.P., 2015. Physiologically based demographic models streamline identification and collection of data in evidence-based pest risk assessment. EPPO Bulletin, 45: 317-322.

PBDM sub-models used for all species.

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.

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

Ultra-low, cryptic tropical fruit fly populations

March 12, 2014 Leave a comment

A comment appeared in Proceedings B reviews a study by Papadopoulos, Plant, and Carey (2013; “From trickle to flood: the large-scale, cryptic invasion of California by tropical fruit flies.” Proc. R. Soc. B: Biol. Sci. 280: and suggests an alternative approach that addresses the biology of invasive species. In summary, inference of establishment of fruit flies based on recurrence data as performed by Papadopoulos et al. (2013) is neither explanatory nor provides confirmation of establishment in California. By contrast, physiologically based demographic models for medfly and olive fly accurately predict the potential distribution of the two fruit flies in California and elsewhere, and provide explanation for species phenology and dynamics that is critical for risk assessment and policy development for these and other invasive species under current climate and climate change scenarios.

Gutierrez A.P., Ponti L., Gilioli G., 2014. Comments on the concept of ultra-low, cryptic tropical fruit fly populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281,

Invasive species: why the biology matters

October 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Using published bi- and tri-trophic physiologically-based demographic system models having similar sub components, the geographic distributions and relative abundance (a measure of invasiveness) of six invasive herbivorous insect species is assessed prospectively across the United States and Mexico. The models used are mechanistic descriptions of the weather-driven biology of the species. The plant hosts and insect species included in the study are: (1) cotton/pink bollworm, (2) a fruit tree host/Mediterranean fruit fly, (3) olive/olive fly, (4) a perennial host/light brown apple moth; (5) grapevine/glassy-winged sharpshooter and its two egg parasitoids, (6) grapevine/European grapevine moth. All of these species are currently or have been targets for eradication. The goal of the analyses is to predict and explain prospectively the disparate distributions of the six species as a basis for examining eradication/containment efforts against them. The eradication of the new world screwworm is also reviewed in the discussion section because of its pivotal role in the development of the eradication paradigm.

Gutierrez A.P., Ponti L., 2013. Eradication of invasive species: why the biology matters. Environmental Entomology, 42: 395-411. | Free PDF reprint

Process-based soil water balance for olive

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Olive is of major eco-social importance for the desertification-prone Mediterranean Basin, a climate change and biodiversity hotspot of global relevance where remarkable climate change is expected over the next few decades with unknown ecosystem impacts. However, climate impact assessments have long been constrained by a narrow methodological basis (ecological niche models, ENMs) that is correlative and hence largely omits key impact drivers such as trophic interactions and the effect of water availability. To bridge this gap, mechanistic approaches such as physiologically-based weather-driven demographic models (PBDMs) may be used as they embed by design both the biology of trophic interactions and a mechanistic representation of soil water balance. Here we report progress towards assessing climate effects on olive culture across the Mediterranean region using mechanistic PBDMs that project regionally the multitrophic population dynamics of olive and olive fly as affected by daily weather and soil water balance.

Ponti, L., Gutierrez, A.P., Basso, B., Neteler, M., Ruti, P.M., Dell’Aquila, A. and Iannetta, M., 2013. Olive agroecosystems in the Mediterranean Basin: multitrophic analysis of climate effects with process-based representation of soil water balance. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 19:122-131.

Potential distribution of light brown apple moth

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The highly polyphagous light brown apple moth (LBAM) (Epiphyas postvittana (Walk.): Tortricidae) is indigenous to Australia and was first found in California in 2006. It is currently found in 15 coastal counties in California, but nowhere has it reached outbreak status. The USDA projects the geographic range of LBAM will include much of Arizona and California and the southern half of the U.S., which together with economic estimates of potential crop losses have been used as the rationale for an eradication program in California. We report a temperature-driven demographic model to predict the likely distribution and relative abundance of LBAM using the detailed biology reported by W. Danthanarayana and colleagues, and climate data from 151 locations in California and Arizona for the period 1995 to 2006. The predictions of our model suggest that the near coastal regions of California are most favorable for LBAM, the northern Central Valley of California being less favorable, and the desert regions of Arizona and California being unfavorable.

Gutierrez A.P., Mills N.J., Ponti L., 2010. Limits to the potential distribution of light brown apple moth in Arizona-California based on climate suitability and host plant availability. Biological Invasions, DOI 10.1007/s10530-010-9725-8.