Exploring Disease Pressure in Response to Climate Change

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2018: $14,993.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: The Pennsylvania State University
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Faculty Advisor:


  • Vegetables: tomatoes


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection
  • Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
  • Soil Management: soil analysis

    Proposal abstract:

    Plant disease pressure is likely to increase with climate change, which necessitates research on novel methods of sustainable disease management. In the Northeast United States temperatures are rising along with shorter winters and more stochastic weather events that will have major effects on pest populations, many of which are vectors of pathogens. In turn, there is expected to be an increase in crop disease pressure with these climate changes. Here we propose to study the applicability of phytohormones for management of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) under climate change conditions. Jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, and abscisic acid will be applied to plants two days before and after inoculation with TSWV. These applications will also be tested under various temperatures and drought stress conditions. Disease incidence and severity will be measured two weeks post-inoculation. Results from the study will guide further research into manipulating these hormonal pathways to manage TSWV as well as other diseases. The findings of the proposed study will be presented at the American Phytopathological Society meeting and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Farming for the Future annual meeting as well as other grower meetings.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The following objectives expand my Ph.D. thesis research on TSWV evolution under increased temperature, and on the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the interactions between phytohormones and plant resistance to TSWV infection.

    The specific objectives of this proposal are:

    1. To determine the effects of climate change on disease progression
    a. What is the effect of temperature on disease progression in tomato?
    b. What is the effect of drought stress on disease progression in tomato?

    2. To determine the effect of phytohormones on disease progression in tomato
    a. What is the effect of exogenous methyl jasmonate/jasmonic acid (JA) on disease progression in tomato?
    b. What is the effect of exogenous methyl salicylic acid (SA) on disease progression in tomato?
    c. What is the effect of exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) on disease progression in tomato?

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.