Range-expanding pests and pathogens in a warming world

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2015;53:335-56. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080614-120207. Epub 2015 May 27.


Crop pests and pathogens (CPPs) present a growing threat to food security and ecosystem management. The interactions between plants and their natural enemies are influenced by environmental conditions and thus global warming and climate change could affect CPP ranges and impact. Observations of changing CPP distributions over the twentieth century suggest that growing agricultural production and trade have been most important in disseminating CPPs, but there is some evidence for a latitudinal bias in range shifts that indicates a global warming signal. Species distribution models using climatic variables as drivers suggest that ranges will shift latitudinally in the future. The rapid spread of the Colorado potato beetle across Eurasia illustrates the importance of evolutionary adaptation, host distribution, and migration patterns in affecting the predictions of climate-based species distribution models. Understanding species range shifts in the framework of ecological niche theory may help to direct future research needs.

Keywords: CLIMEX; Colorado potato beetle; agricultural crops; climate change; species distribution model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Distribution
  • Animals
  • Climate Change*
  • Coleoptera / physiology
  • Crops, Agricultural / microbiology*
  • Crops, Agricultural / parasitology*
  • Crops, Agricultural / virology
  • Ecosystem
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology
  • Plant Diseases / virology
  • Population Dynamics