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

Credit: Vaclav (Vashek) Petras

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

Chris Jones, a researcher at the Center for Geospatial Analysis at North Carolina State University, who is the lead author of the study, said: “It tests how something works before you spend time, money and effort. It’s like having a lot of different Earths to experience …

In the newspaper Ecology and environmental frontierThe researchers reported on efforts to develop and test a tool called “PoPS” for a platform for predicting the spread of pests or pathogens. They worked with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to create tools to predict 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 cases are recorded, the rate of reproduction of pathogens or pests, and how they move through the environment . Over time, the model improves as natural resource managers add data collected in the field. Repeated feedback from this new data will allow forecasting systems to more accurately predict future expansion, the researchers say.

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

This tool is needed because state and federal agencies responsible for crop pest and disease management face a growing threat to crops, trees and other important natural resources. These pests threaten the food supply and the biodiversity of forests and ecosystems.

“The biggest problem is the large number of new parasites and pathogens that are invading,” Jones said. “With the federal state agency. Those responsible for managing them are spending less and less on the ever-increasing number of parasites. 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 sudden oak death, a disease that has killed millions of trees in California since the 1990s, as a new, more aggressive stock disease found in Oregon.

They are also improving their tracking model for spotted lanterns, an invasive American pest that primarily pests certain types of invasive trees called “trees of the sky.” Spotted lanterns have been common in fruit trees in Pennsylvania and neighboring states since 2014. May attack grapes, apples, cherries, almonds, and walnuts.

The researchers said environmentalists use 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 movements of ecosystems to predict environmental conditions,” said Megan Scrip, study co-author 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 any given time? This document does this for the spread of parasites and pathogens. This is one of the first manifestations. “

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

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North Carolina State University

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

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