Rising temperatures have led to pests, diseases and weeds establishing in areas of the world that were previously uninhabitable. Furthermore, growth in global trade and new trade pathways increase the risk of accidental movement of pests. Earth Observation (EO) and climatic data can help by improving predictions about where potential agricultural pests and diseases may be a threat. Information produced by models can help decision makers understand and prepare for future risks. Working with a consortium of researchers, this project will use EO data to improve the data layers used in models that predict where pests can establish, including irrigation, areas under protected agriculture and climatic canopy conditions, demonstrating the improvements made to species distribution estimations for key pests and biological control agents.
To respond urgently in times of crises we need to be ready. Researchers need the know-how and tools to develop rapid evidence synthesis at short notice, and coordinated networks need to be able to translate, communicate, and share evidence at a moment’s notice so that policymakers can use that evidence. The Juno Evidence Alliance will be a cutting-edge global platform that empowers evidence-based policy in agriculture, food systems, and climate adaptation. By utilising artificial intelligence and proven research methodologies, the aim is to streamline the synthesis of diverse data sources, providing timely, relevant, and high-quality conclusions for governments, funders, and policymakers. With Juno, decision-makers can accelerate progress, reduce costs, coordinate messages, and shape a sustainable and resilient future for the benefit of all.
Plant microbiomes are the microbial communities essential to the whole ecological area of a plant’s ‘phytobiome’ – a term used to describe a plant’s specific ecological area. Having a healthy phytobiome is critical to crop health, improved crop yields and quality food. However, crop microbiomes are relatively under-researched. The UK Crop Microbiome Cryobank project will develop a unique, exploitable and integrated resource that will provide the biological and bioinformatic tools to enable the development of solutions to improve soil and crop health. Six of the UK’s key crops will be the focus and usable outputs will underpin UK research activity in line with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) strategic priorities in agriculture and food security. The project will support three of the UN’s Sustainable-Development Goals: Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption, and Production and Life on Land.
Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive weed that impacts severely on native biodiversity and local infrastructure in its introduced range. Whilst chemicals are currently used to control the weed, this approach is costly and unsustainable. Biological control is an alternative method. The damaging leaf-spot fungus, Mycosphaerella polygoni-cuspidati, which attacks the plant in its native range was found not to be suitable as a classical biocontrol agent. However, the pathogen is considered to hold potential as a mycoherbicide. The aim of this project is to undertake proof-of-concept research into a potential mycoherbicide, in collaboration with the private industry.
Cat’s claw creeper is a vigorous vine native to tropical Central America and northern South America. Introduced into Australia for ornamental purposes, this troublesome liana escaped cultivation and is now regarded as a significant environmental weed.