Title: Potential distribution and phenological development of the Mediterranean Corn Borer (Sesamia nonagrioides) under warming climate in Europe
Authors: MAIORANO ANDREADONATELLI Marcello
Citation: Publication series of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki p. 296-297
Publisher: Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC72299
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC72299
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Insects are poikilotherms (body temperature varies along with that of the environmental temperature), hence their development and geographical distribution are strongly influenced by ambient temperature. As a consequence, a warming climate has the potential to significantly modify the actual distribution and development of agricultural insect pests. In this work we analyzed the case of the Mediterranean Corn Borer (MCB) Sesamia nonagrioides, which is one of the most important maize borers in Europe. Its distribution and population levels are primarily determined by its sensitivity to sub-zero winter temperatures. In Europe it has been mainly reported from the coastal regions of the Mediterranean basin and of the Atlantic coasts up to the western Loire region of France. No study has estimated the potential spread of the MCB considering the overwinter survival including the fraction of larvae in the maize roots and linking survival to a MCB phenological model. This paper presents the preliminary results of a study conducted to analyze the role of temperature in the potential distribution of the MCB in Europe under warming climate. The work was carried out in four phases: a) development of a winter survival model; b) parameterization of a temperature-based phenological model; c) application of the model in spatialized simulation runs to test MCB survival and development; and d) application of the model to future climate scenarios. Survival and development were studied under simulated warming climate at three time horizons (Baseline 2000s, 2030s, 2050s) in Europe (A1B IPCC emission scenario, ECHAM5-HIRHAM5 models, downscaled from the original ENSEMBLES data set by the same regional climate model to a 25 km grid resolution). Two modelling approaches were implemented and compared for the simulation of winter survival: the first one using air temperature as the only input, the second using both air temperature and simulated soil temperature as input that is including the simulation of larvae survival in the roots under the soil surface. The models were implemented in a software component composed of discrete model units, and it was used in the BioMA platform (http://bioma.jrc.ec.europa.eu/) of the European Commission. Results of winter survival estimates suggest that mortality due to winter temperature is not a potential reason for reduced spreading of MCB in currently cold areas where it has never been reported. In fact results suggest that the potential survival of the fraction of larvae overwintering in the maize roots would allow the development of the MCB in those areas. These results indicate that low temperatures affecting overwinter survival might not be the most important limiting factor determining MCB distribution, and that other factors might be more important than expected by previous literature. The development model linked to the estimate of survival including larvae diapausing in the soil showed a potential increase of generations in the Balkans and Turkey, and, to a more limited extent, in Germany. On the contrary, the estimated increase is negligible in the Mediterranean basin, due to the potential stressful effects of high temperatures. Results showed that both geographical distribution and phenological development are expected to increase under 2030 and 2050, but the main increase is expected under 2030 scenario. The results of this work suggest further investigation of other factors than winter mortality that control the MCB distribution range. This would allow more specific estimates of the potential distribution and development of the MCB in Europe, and consequently of the potential damage to maize crops. Thanks to the implementation technology used for developing the modelling approaches presented in this paper, such improvement can be easily implemented and integrated. This work was supported by a 7th FP Marie Curie Fellowship (Project MIMYCS).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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