Impact of climate on a host-hyperparasite interaction on Arabica coffee in its native range.

Published online
16 Jun 2024
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Ayalew, B. & Hylander, K. & Girma Adugna & Zewdie, B. & Tack, A. J. M.
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Natural enemies of plant pathogens might play an important role in controlling plant disease levels in natural and agricultural systems. Yet, plant pathogen-natural enemy interactions might be sensitive to climatic changes. Understanding the relationship between climate, plant pathogens and their natural enemies is thus important for developing climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture. To this aim, we recorded shade cover, daily minimum and maximum temperature, relative humidity, coffee leaf rust and its hyperparasite at 58 sites in southwestern Ethiopia during the dry and wet season for 2 years. Coffee leaf rust severity was positively related to the maximum temperature. Hyperparasite severity was higher when the minimum temperature was low (i.e. in places with cold night temperatures). While canopy cover did not have a direct effect on rust severity, it reduced rust severity indirectly by lowering the maximum temperature. Canopy cover had a direct positive effect on the hyperparasite severity during one surveying period. Synthesis and applications. Our findings highlight that coffee leaf rust and its hyperparasite are both affected by shade cover and temperature, but in different ways. On the one hand, these niche differences lead to the worrying prediction that levels of coffee leaf rust will increase, and its hyperparasite will decrease, with climate change. On the other hand, these niche differences between coffee leaf rust and its hyperparasite provide opportunities to develop strategies to manage the environment (such as shade cover and microclimate) in such a way that the rust is disfavoured and the hyperparasite is favoured.

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