Plum Curculio Diagnostics & Invasion Risks
Animals are on the move. International trade has caused mass migrations of organisms across the globe and climate change is altering the home ranges of animals and plants the world over. Managing pest invasions, predicting the spread of disease, and long-term planning for a hotter world require integrating ecological and environmental data.
In this project we have used environmental data to build an ecological niche model of a potentially invasive species—the plum curculio. The niche model is used to predict potentially suitable habitat across the globe. These predictions are combined with country-specific fruit production data to produce a categorized risk surface that accounts for climate, soil suitability, fruit production, and transport probabilities. This is a responsive, adaptable, predictive framework for understanding how the plum curculio may respond to release from chemical management and climate change.
We have also established molecular diagnostics for plum curculio identification at any life stage in reference to regional variation, enabling not only species identification but also likely geographic area of origin.
These results are being written up for publication this winter.