Author Archives: Matt Smith

Phenological Variation in Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. Facilitates Near Future Establishment at Northern Latitudes

Citation: Scalone, R., Lemke, A., Štefanić, E., Kolseth, A.-K., Rašić, S. and Andersson, L. (2016). Phenological Variation in Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. Facilitates Near Future Establishment at Northern Latitudes. PLoS ONE 11(11), e0166510.

PLOSONE Open Access

Abstract: The invasive weed Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed) constitutes a great threat to public health and agriculture in large areas of the globe. Climate change, characterized by higher temperatures and prolonged vegetation periods, could increase the risk of establishment in northern Europe in the future. However, as the species is a short-day plant that requires long nights to induce bloom formation, it might still fail to produce mature seeds before the onset of winter in areas at northern latitudes characterized by short summer nights. To survey the genetic variation in flowering time and study the effect of latitudinal origin on this trait, a reciprocal common garden experiment, including eleven populations of Aartemisiifolia from Europe and North America, was conducted. The experiment was conducted both outside the range limit of the species, in Sweden and within its invaded range, in Croatia. Our main hypothesis was that the photoperiodic-thermal requirements of Aartemisiifolia constitute a barrier for reproduction at northern latitudes and, thus, halts the northern range shift despite expected climate change. Results revealed the presence of a north-south gradient in flowering time at both garden sites, indicating that certain European populations are pre-adapted to photoperiodic and thermal conditions at latitudes up to, at least, 60° N. This was confirmed by phenological recordings performed in a region close to the northern range limit, the north of Germany. Thus, we conclude that there exists a high risk for establishment and spread of Aartemisiifolia in FennoScandinavia in the near future. The range shift might occur independently of climate change, but would be accelerated by it.

Co-occurrence of Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons against the background of the synoptic situations in Poland

Citation: Stepalska, D., Myszkowska, D., Katarzyna, L., Katarzyna, P., Katarzyna, B., Kazimiera, C., Lukasz, G., Idalia, K., Barbara, M. W., Malgorzata, M., Malgorzata, N., Krystyna, P. W., Malgorzata, P. and Elzbieta, W. C. (2016). Co-occurrence of Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons against the background of the synoptic situations in Poland. International Journal of Biometeorology.

SpringerLink

Abstract: The Asteraceae family is one of the largest families, comprising 67 genera and 264 species in Poland. However, only a few genera, including Artemisia and Ambrosia are potential allergenic sources. The aim of the study was to estimate how often and to what degree Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons co-occur intensifying human health risk, and how synoptic situations influence frequency of days with high pollen concentrations of both taxa. Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen data were collected, using the volumetric method, at 8 sites in Poland. Daily concentrations of Artemisia pollen equal to 30 grains or more and Ambrosia pollen equal to 10 grains or more were accepted as high values. Concentrations of more than 10 pollen grains were defined as high in the case of Ambrosia because its allergenicity is considered higher. High concentrations were confronted with synoptic situations. Analysis was performed on the basis of two calendars on circulation types of atmosphere in Poland (Niedźwiedź, 2006, 2015). Co-occurrence of Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons is being found most often, when Ambrosia pollen season starts in the first half of August. If it happens in the last 10 days of August high pollen concentrations of Artemisia and Ambrosia do not occur at the same days. At three sites (Sosnowiec, Rzeszów, Lublin) high Ambrosia pollen concentrations during the Artemisia pollen season appear more often than in other sites under question. The high Artemisia pollen concentrations occur, when continental or polar maritime old air masses inflow into Poland. The impact of air masses on high Ambrosia pollen concentrations depends on site localizations. It is likely, that in the south-eastern part of Poland high Ambrosia pollen concentrations result from the pollen transport from east-south-south-westerly directions and the local sources. Co-occurrence of both taxa pollen seasons depends on the air masses inflow and appears more often in a south-eastern part of Poland.

SMARTER Dissemination Meeting, Milan

The COST SMARTER Dissemination Meeting “Ragweed management and the potential benefit and risk of Ophraella communa in Northern Italy – Researchers meet their Stakeholders” was held on 28th of October 2016, in Rho (Milan). About 100 people, including representatives from Local Authorities and Municipalities, Health Regional Authorities and the Italian National Television, attended the morning meeting. About 40 people participated on the guided visit to the experimental fields in Magnago during the afternoon.

The meeting obtained some good coverage in the press, and it is possible to see the television news here. Also a news article (in Italian): corriere-sera-on-line

SMARTER Final synthesis meeting in Leiden

The final synthesis meeting took place at the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden on October 31-November1, 2016. The meeting was attended by thirteen SMARTER members, mainly form the core group. They shared the latest results and discussed how to link the datasets generated during the project for final publications. Furthermore the SMARTER project was evaluated by naming positive and negative aspects. Finally, input was given for the drafting the final report.

Action Chair, Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer, leading the discussions on the first day of the meeting in Leiden

Action Chair, Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer, leading the discussions on the first day of the meeting in Leiden

SMARTER members discussing how to merge datasets for combined publications, and discussing successes and failures of SMARTER

SMARTER members discussing how to merge datasets for combined publications, and discussing successes and failures of SMARTER

Pollen-monitoring: between analyst proficiency testing

Citation: Sikoparija, B., Galán, C., Smith, M. and EAS_QC_Working_Group (2016). Pollen-monitoring: between analyst proficiency testing. doi:10.1007/s10453-016-9461-3.

Springer Nature Sharing

Abstract: This study presents the results of a Europe-wide training and Quality Control (QC) exercise carried out within the framework of the European Aerobiology Society’s QC Working Group and European COST Action FA1203 entitled “sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe (SMARTER)” with the aim of ensuring that pollen counters in Europe are confident in the identification of Ambrosia pollen grains. A total of 69 analysts from 20 countries examined a test slide by light microscopy, which contained Ambrosia pollen and pollen from other Asteraceae that could be recorded in the atmosphere at the same time of year (i.e. Artemisia, Iva, and Xanthium). Daily average pollen concentrations produced by individual participants were compared with the assigned value and the bias was measured by z-score. Both the assigned value and standard deviation for proficiency testing were calculated following the consensus value principle (ISO13528:2005) from the results reported by all the participants in the test. It took a total of 531 days from when the exercise commenced until all 69 analysts reported their results. The most outliers were reported for Artemisia pollen concentrations followed by Xanthium and Iva. The poor results for Artemisia and Xanthium were probably caused by low concentrations on the test slide leading to larger bias due to the unequal distribution of pollen over the microscope slide. Participants performed the best in identifying and quantifying Ambrosia pollen. Performing inter-laboratory ring tests with the same sample is very time consuming and might not be appropriate for large-scale proficiency testing in aerobiology. Pollen with similar morphology should be included in the education process of aerobiologists.