European Journal of Plant Pathology (2015) 142, 133-147

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Peter Skelsey and Adrian C. Newton (2015)
Future environmental and geographic risks of Fusarium head blight of wheat in Scotland
European Journal of Plant Pathology 142 (1), 133-147
Abstract: Methods used to assess climate change risk for crop diseases often assume that both host and pathogen are present. Consequently, model output may misrepresent future growing seasons, due to a failure to reflect likely change at the landscape- and farm-scale and its impact on disease risk. In this study, data defining the spatial coverage of crops in Scotland were combined with spatially coherent, probabilistic climate change data to project the future risk of Fusarium head blight (FHB) in wheat. Primary inoculum was initially treated as non-limiting, and a widely accepted crop-disease-climate model for FHB risk assessment was used to project the risk of disease occurrence in over 50,000 crop locations. Primary inoculum was then treated as limiting, and an atmospheric dispersion model was used to modify projections according to the risk of inoculum dispersal from overwintering refugia to crop locations. In both cases it was predicted that FHB hazard will decrease in Scotland over time. Consequences for the species composition of the FHB complex and therefore the associated mycotoxin hazard were considered. To guide adaptation strategies, we also considered agronomic scenarios regarding potential climate-change-driven shifts in agricultural practices and planting patterns, and their effects on disease risk. We found that opportunities exist for increased cultivation of crops that are potent sources of Fusarium or Gibberella inoculum, and for movement of crops away from coastal areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, with little additional risk of FHB. These projections, made by considering the temporal and spatial coincidence of host and pathogen species under various climate change scenarios, suggest that improved control of FHB might not be a high priority for future food security in Scotland.
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Database assignments for author(s): Peter Skelsey

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
population dynamics/ epidemiology


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Fusarium graminearum Wheat (Triticum) United Kingdom