Understanding the threat of late blight under climate change, from Ecuador to Nepal

Shankar Kaji Shakya, a graduate student and research fellow from the University of Florida (UF), recently visited the office of the International Potato Center (CIP) in Quito, Ecuador to discuss the characteristics of late blight in the Andes with CIP scientists. A native of Nepal, Shakya is interested in finding solutions for controlling Phytophtora infestans, the pathogen that causes potato late blight, in the context of changing climate conditions. UF and CIP are collaborating on research to better understand and prioritize climate change adaptation needs for food security in the Andes. This includes working towards the development of a late blight model that takes oscillating temperatures into consideration, in order to predict the pathogen’s development under climate change scenarios. The ultimate objective is to integrate a late blight model with a potato growth model to calculate the likely outcomes under changing climate scenarios. More