Since obtaining his Theoretical Physics PhD from the Jagiellonian University in Poland in 1989, he has been working on Mathematical Biology, applying models to study human, animal and plant diseases, soil and terrestrial biodiversity, and climate change. He also has worked on parameter estimation for ecological and epidemiological systems. After a post-doctoral post in Germany, he came to Cambridge in 1992, to work on human and plant diseases. In 2007 he moved to Stirling and in 2018 he joined the University of Strathclyde as a Global Talent Chair. His recent work has been on bioeconomic modelling of crop and tree diseases, linking supply of pollination services to pesticide use, and addressing food security and sustainability in aquaculture, with funding coming from BBSRC, NERC, Scottish Government and Defra. He was part of the Expert Group that provided advice to Scottish Government on the business case for the Plant Health Centre.
Building on an existing decision support tool developed as part of a previous PHC funded project (PHC2018/14), the project will produce an updated modelling framework with key processes and parametrisations for D. micans (present in Scotland) and an initial assessment for I. typographus (invasive) risks under changing climate.
Initial economic analysis of the impact of different scenarios will also be produced, as well as pathways for incorporating future research results. The project was jointly developed with Scottish Forestry and Forestry and Land Scotland who will be involved throughout the process, particularly in developing the policy advice and bringing in industry views, including during workshops that will assess the modelling framework, with recommendations being incorporated into the final version.
This project was selected for funding from the Project Call: “Enhancing preparedness against pests and diseases: plugging evidence gaps for Scotland”.
• A review of possible interventions to include a review of PCN management in other countries to inform the work packages below:-
• Modelling future risks of both G. rostochiensis and G. palida using interventions identified in the review and climate scenarios.
• Grower behaviours and attitudes to interventions, to include input from industry stakeholders.
• An economic analysis of likely impact in Scotland based on a range of possible interventions.
Impact: A clearer understanding of possible control options, economic impacts of available interventions and the likelihood of growers and buyers adopting new resistant varieties, altering rotation practices or any other interventions such that recommendations on best strategies (including statutory controls) can be made.
Impact: Easily accessible tool for PHC and government plant health officials to assess possible impacts of climate on pests and pathogens in Scotland.
The potential of ecological and epidemiological models to inform assessment and mitigation of biosecurity risks arising from large scale planting
Large scale planting projects linked to infra-structure such as transport networks and major housing projects or to planting for environmental benefits (e.g., urban greening, woodland restoration) pose high biosecurity risks due to the high number and types of plants involved. This report focusses on whether and how ecological and epidemiological model frameworks can inform assessment and mitigation of biosecurity risks from large scale planting using a combination of literature review and stakeholder engagement. The project aimed to identify priority steps to develop more useful models and tools for assessing biosecurity risks from planting in the future.
Assessment of suitability for EAB invasion for Scotland and the UK
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has become a significant threat to ash trees in several countries (including USA and Russia) but is not yet present in the UK. We quantified climate and ecological factors affecting EAB suitability using native range data and conclude that southern England is a highly suitable habitat for EAB. Although currently less favourable, we project that Scotland will become increasingly suitable for EAB under climate change. Thus, EAB could threaten Scotland via trade with areas where it is present or, through spread from populations if established in England or Western Europe. Rapid spread of EAB has been observed in its US invasion. We therefore recommend further study and vigilance against EAB introductions into the UK.
Impact of climate change on the spread of pests and diseases in Scotland
This project constructed a modelling framework which combined epidemiological and economic modelling. The modelling framework was used to study predictions of spread and economic impact of pests which are not currently in the UK, including Xylella fastidiosa, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Zebra chip) and Ips typographus (Eight toothed Spruce Bark Beetle).
Impact: A web/desktop application is available to the PHC and Scottish Government to analyse the effects of climate change on the spread and economic impact of new threats.
Modelling Framework for invasive pests: Emerald ash borer as a case study
This project investigated whether modelling could aid preparation for a potential bark beetle and wood borer invasion of Scotland. This was achieved by: (i) reviewing suitability of modelling results and frameworks in literature; (ii) recommendations on how these could be rapidly adapted for Scottish and UK plant health context and (iii) case study on Emerald ash borer to exemplify approach.
The Future Threat of PCN in Scotland
This project has: i) reviewed possible PCN interventions; ii) modelled future risks; iii) surveyed grower behaviours and attitudes to interventions; and iv) conducted an economic analysis of likely impact in Scotland based on a range of possible interventions.