Supplementary Materials & Methods from A new mechanistic model of weather-dependent Septoria tritici blotch disease risk

We present a new mechanistic model for predicting Septoria tritici blotch (STB) disease, parameterized with experimentally derived data for temperature- and wetness-dependent germination, growth and death of the causal agent, Zymoseptoria tritici. The output of this model (A) was compared with observed disease data for UK wheat over the period 2002–2016. In addition, we compared the output of a second model (B), in which experimentally derived parameters were replaced by a modified version of a published Z. tritici thermal performance equation, with the same observed disease data. Neither model predicted observed annual disease, but model A was able to differentiate UK regions with differing average disease risks over the entire period. The greatest limitations of both models are: broad spatial resolution of the climate data, and lack of host parameters. Model B is further limited by its lack of explicitly defined pathogen death, leading to a cumulative overestimation of disease over the course of the growing season. Comparison of models A and B demonstrates the importance of accounting for the temperature-dependency of pathogen processes important in the initiation and progression of disease. However, effective modelling of STB will probably require similar experimentally derived parameters for host and environmental factors, completing the disease triangle.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Detection, forecasting and control of infectious disease epidemics: modelling outbreaks in humans, animals and plants Part 1’.