Museum specimen data reveal emergence of a plant disease may be linked to increases in the insect vector population

Ecological Applications : a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Adam R ZeilingerGeorge K Roderick


The emergence rate of new plant diseases is increasing due to novel introductions, climate change, and changes in vector populations, posing risks to agricultural sustainability. Assessing and managing future disease risks depends on understanding the causes of contemporary and historical emergence events. Since the mid-1990s, potato growers in the western United States, Mexico, and Central America have experienced severe yield loss from Zebra Chip disease and have responded by increasing insecticide use to suppress populations of the insect vector, the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Hemiptera: Triozidae). Despite the severe nature of Zebra Chip outbreaks, the causes of emergence remain unknown. We tested the hypotheses that (1) B. cockerelli occupancy has increased over the last century in California and (2) such increases are related to climate change, specifically warmer winters. We compiled a data set of 87,000 museum specimen occurrence records across the order Hemiptera collected between 1900 and 2014. We then analyzed changes in B. cockerelli distribution using a hierarchical occupancy model using changes in background species lists to correct for collecting effort. We found evidence that B. cockerelli occupancy...Continue Reading


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Insect Vectors
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