Wednesday, January 21, 2015

GlobalChangeBiology in the Climate-ADAPT database

The European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT) aims to support Europe in adapting to climate change by providing easily searchable information about expected climate change in Europe, current and future vulnerability of regions and sectors, national and transnational adaptation strategies and actions, adaptation case studies and potential adaptation options, and tools that support adaptation planning. Information is stored in a database that contains quality checked information, including reference to the GlobalChangeBiology project.

Climate-ADAPT, The European Climate Adaptation Platform, 2014. Project GlobalChangeBiology: A physiologically-based weather-driven geospatial modelling approach to global change biology: tackling a multifaceted problem with an interdisciplinary tool.

Friday, December 19, 2014

GlobalChangeBiology project story published

A story about the GlobalChangeBiology project was published on the Horizon 2020 website in the Projects Stories section. The European Commission DG Research had commissioned an article on the GlobalChangeBiology project for publication on the DG Research website under “success stories”. After an interview by a professional writer, the article was prepared and eventually selected for publication on the official website of the European Commission.

European Commission, 2014. Modelling climate impacts on crops and pests.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holistic approach in invasive species research

The Mediterranean Basin is a climate change and biological invasion hotspot where recent warming is facilitating the establishment and spread of invasive species, one of which is the highly destructive South American tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta). This pest recently invaded the Mediterranean Basin where it threatens solanaceous crops. Holistic approaches are required to project the potential geographic distribution and relative abundance of invasive species and hence are pivotal to developing sound policy for their management. This need is increasing dramatically in the face of a surge in biological invasions and climate change. However, while holistic analyses of invasive species are often advocated, they are rarely implemented. We propose that physiologically-based demographic models (PBDMs) in the context of a geographic information system (GIS) can provide the appropriate level of synthesis required to capture the complex interactions basic to manage invasive species such as T. absoluta. We review the PBDMs for two invasive flies, and use them as a basis for assessing the biological data available for the development of a PBDM for T. absoluta, and in the process identify large data gaps that using the PBDM as a guide can be easily filled. Other components for an ecologically-based management program for this pest (habitat modification, natural and classical biocontrol, pheromones, and others) are also reviewed. The development of a PBDM for T. absoluta would provide the basis for an interdisciplinary agroecological synthesis of the problem and the role different control tactics would play in region-specific control of the pest.

Ponti L., Gutierrez A.P., Altieri M.A., 2015. Holistic approach in invasive species research: the case of the tomato leaf miner in the Mediterranean Basin. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems,

PBDM sub-models used for all species in all trophic levels.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Invasive species and climate change: the PBDM approach

Assessing the geographic distribution and abundance of invasive species is critical for developing sound management and/or eradication policies. Ecological niche modelling approaches (ENMs) that make implicit assumptions about biology and mathematics are commonly used to predict the potential distribution of invasive species based on their recorded distribution. An alternative approach is physiologically based demographic modelling (PBDM), which explicitly incorporates the mathematics and the observed biology, including trophic interactions, to predict the temporal phenology and dynamics of a species across wide geographic areas. The invasive weed, yellow starthistle (YST) (Centaurea solstitialis), and its interactions with annual grasses and herbivorous biological control agents is used to demonstrate the utility of the PBDM approach for analysing complex invasive species problems. The PBDM predicts the distribution and relative abundance of YST accurately across the western USA, and the results are used to assess the effects of temperature, rainfall, competition from grasses and the efficacy of biocontrol efforts. Such an effort could also be used to include the direct effects of rising carbon dioxide on YST biology. A bioeconomic model could be developed to show how the YST PBDM analysis can also be used to assess the biological and economic effects of climate change on YST infestation levels regionally. Finally, this chapter discusses the need for a unified system for assessing invasive species problems at the field, regional and global levels, with the goal of enhancing the development of efficacious policy and management decisions.

Gutierrez A.P., Ponti L., 2014. Assessing and managing the impact of climate change on invasive species: the PBDM approach. In: Ziska L.H., Dukes J.S., (eds.), Invasive Species and Global Climate Change. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. ISBN: 978-1780641645.

Trophic interactions in the yellow starthistle PBDM system.