Climate change and crop diseases

Fungal pathogens can induce up to 30% in crop yield loss and important economic losses, resulting in a decrease in food security. Climate change will have an important impact on agriculture due to a change in temperature and rainfall patterns and an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. These changes will have multiple impacts on plant pathogens, directly influencing the pathogen fitness or indirectly via a modification in the crop host distribution and phenology. They can lead to an increase of winter survival in temperate locations and earlier spore release dates or the emerging of new diseases.

Our objective is to develop or adapt forecasting models based on historical data sets to investigate the impacts of climate change on occurrence and distribution of fungal diseases by combining crop growth and crop disease models.

Our previous collaborative projects included works on phoma stem canker of oilseed rape (Evans et al. 2008, 2010; Butterworth et al. 2010; Zhang et al. 2014) and fusarium head blight of wheat (Madgwick et al. 2011; Zhang et al. 2014). Our results suggest that epidemics of certain diseases will increase in severity and spread geographically with climate change (Fig.1).

Fungal stem canker map

Current research projects:-

  • Newton Mosharafa Fund - Impacts of climate change on occurrence and distribution of the pathogenic seed-borne fungi of wheat and maize in Egypt
  • University Interschool collaboration – Long distance spore dispersal - Dr Pushp Raj Tiwari

Selected publications

Read or download the attached PDF document for a list of selected publications (PDF - 0.06 Mb).