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Researchers design simulation tools to predict the spread of diseases and pests

Credits: Vaclav (Vashek) Petras

Researchers at North Carolina State University use computer simulation tools to predict when and where pests and diseases will hit crops and forests, and to test when pesticides and other management strategies are applied to contain them. Developed.


Chris Jones, a research scholar at the Center for Geospatial Analysis at North Carolina State University, who is the lead author of the study, said, “This tests how something works before spending time, money and effort. It’s like having a lot of different Earths to experiment with …

In the diary Ecology and environmental frontier, Researchers reported on efforts to develop and test a tool called “PoPS” for a pest or pathogen spread prediction platform. They worked with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to create tools for predicting all types of diseases and pathogens, regardless of location.

Their computer modeling system Climatic conditions Suitable for the spread of certain diseases or pests, with data on where the cases are recorded, the rate of reproduction of pathogens or pests, and how they move within the environment. Over time, the model improves as natural resource managers add data collected from the field. Repeated feedback from this new data will allow forecasting systems to more accurately predict future expansion, researchers say.

“There are tools for non-technical users to learn about disease dynamics and management, and how management decisions affect future transmission,” Jones said.

This tool is needed because state and federal agencies responsible for managing pests and crop diseases face an increasing threat to crops, trees and other important natural resources. These pests threaten the food supply and biodiversity of forests and ecosystems.

“The biggest problem is the huge number of new pests and pathogens that invade,” Jones said. “With the state Federal agency Those in charge of managing them are spending less and less on the ever-growing number of pests. You have to find a way to spend the money as wisely as possible. “

Already, researchers are using PoPS to track the spread of eight new pests and diseases. In the study, they explained that they would improve the model to track the sudden death of oak, a disease that has killed millions of trees in California since the 1990s.New, more aggressive stock disease Found in Oregon.

They are also improving their model of tracking spotted lantern flies, a US invasive pest that primarily parasitizes certain invasive types of trees known as “trees of heaven.” Spotted lantern flies have been widespread in fruit trees in Pennsylvania and neighboring states since 2014. May attack grapes, apples, cherries, almonds and walnuts.

Researchers said that ecologists are using the data to improve their prediction of environmental events, just as meteorologists incorporate the data into their models to predict the weather. pest Or the spread of pathogens.

“There are ecosystem movements to predict environmental conditions,” said Megan Scrip, co-author of the study and science communicator at the Center for Geospatial Analysis. “If we can predict the weather, can we predict where blue-green algae will occur or what species will inhabit a particular area at a particular time? This paper does this for the spread of pests and pathogens. It’s one of the first demonstrations. ”


A new way to track pests


For more information:
“Repeatedly predict aggression with the help of PoPS and friends” Ecology and environmental frontier (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / fee.2357

Quote: Researchers designed a simulation tool to predict the spread of diseases and pests (June 3, 2021) June 3, 2021, https://phys.org/news/2021-06 Obtained from -simulation-tool-disease-pest.html

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Researchers design simulation tools to predict the spread of diseases and pests

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