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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Plant Pathology Research » Research » Research Project #444521

Research Project: Identification, Mapping and Risk Prediction of Whitefly- and Thrips-transmitted Viruses in Fruiting Vegetables in Florida

Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research

Project Number: 6034-22000-045-023-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2028

To quantify the risk of whitefly- and thrips-transmitted viruses in commercial vegetable production fields in Southwest Florida using real-time scouting data and satellite imagery.

ARS is actively working towards implementation of an areawide program for management of whiteflies, thrips and insect-transmitted viruses in response to increasing pest and disease pressure. With our commercial partners, the ARS developed prototype risk maps that utilize the results from three predictive models: i) the Circle of Influence model used to defined an area or “neighborhood” around hot spots (determined though reporting of scouting data) to identify fields within a 5 km radius that are at greater risk for viral epidemics; ii) the Crop ID model which utilizes satellite imagery to identify commercial crop production, including crop type and growth stage, from time-relevant satellite imagery to identify areas in the landscape that can act as a sink or source of whitefly and/or virus; and iii) a Freeze Prediction model used to predict whitefly mortality through a non-linear function of a composite variable of temperature and exposure time. We intend to use these models as a basis to produce highly refined, near real-time predictions of risk across the agricultural. We intend to use current and archived scouting data to analyze pest and virus spatial and temporal distributions as functions of landscape vegetation (obtained by satellite imagery and GIS topography layers) and weather data. We intend to incorporate these findings as a risk modifier as part of an areawide strategy for pest and virus management. Lastly, because different species of thrips transmit different plant viruses, another component of the project will involve the collection, identification and mapping of thrips species.