The Impact of Climate Change and Monoculture on Plant Pathology & Disease – Dr Stella Coakley

Climate change is one of those things that has forced scientists to speculate, to project and to anticipate scenarios in an attempt to help humanity deal with potential problems on the horizon. Some of those potential problems were discussed at the Climate Change Symposium in Guelph, Ontario. One area discussed was that of climate change’s impact on plant pathology and disease. Dr. Stella Coakley spoke to that issue at the symosium. Dr. Coakley is with the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University. She cites an increased growing area in the northern regions resulting from warmer temperatures as one of the things to watch when it comes to plant pathogens. New plants and plant materials moving into those areas and their interactions with plant pathogens are of particular concern.

While this new area is a concern when it comes to plant disease, Coakley says that monoculture is still one of the most challenging aspects of agriculture to deal with when it comes to plant pathology and disease. She says that large areas of crops with identical genetic makeup create potential for a mutated pathogen to do widespread damage quickly. RealAgriculture contributor Bern Tobin sat down with Dr. Stella Coakley to discuss climate change, monoculture in agriculture and other issues involved in plant pathology at the University of Guelph.

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Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4PM est. @shaunhaney


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