First author: Pest Risk Consultant, 34 Grand Vue Rd., Rotorua, 3201 New Zealand; second author: CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700 Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia; and third author: NSW Agriculture, Orange Agricultural Institute, Forest Road, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia
Go to article:
Accepted for publication 4 March 2004.
There is no evidence that Pyrenophora semeniperda, the causal agent of leaf spotting in many annual and perennial grasses, currently occurs in Europe or Asia. However, there is potential phytosanitary concern that the importation of infected commodities could result in the introduction of this fungus into Eurasia, putting crops at risk and possibly resulting in economic losses. To assist in assessing the risk of geographic range extension of P. semeniperda, an analysis was undertaken to estimate the potential global distribution of this species, based on climatic suitability. Geographic distribution data for P. semeniperda in part of its current range were used to fit parameter values in a CLIMEX pest risk assessment model, and the remaining distribution data were used to validate the model. The CLIMEX model correctly predicts that virtually all locations where P. semeniperda has been found are climatically suitable. Only five locations worldwide where the fungus was recorded present are predicted as being unsuitable. These “outliers” may have been transient populations occurring during a favorable season and then dying out. Exploratory adjustments of the model to accommodate these records created unsatisfactory distortions in the projected climatic suitability surfaces, extending the suitable climatic zone beyond well-established traditional range boundaries. We are therefore confident that the model is credibly predicting the potential distribution of P. semeniperda worldwide. The CLIMEX model suggests that P. semeniperda could potentially extend its range throughout Europe and temperate regions of Asia, Africa, and South America. Our heavy reliance upon geographic data to build this CLIMEX model departs from most previous published examples in plant pathology, which have depended primarily upon experimentally derived physiological data to estimate model parameters. The use of geographic data to infer climate parameters is popular in CLIMEX models of weeds and arthropod pests and can provide decision-makers with early risk assessments of potential pathogen invasions, particularly where the pathogens have long, or difficult-to-study, lifecycles.
The American Phytopathological Society, 2004