Climate change (CC) will have serious and profound impacts on pests and diseases of agricultural crops in Europe and it is vital to develop new tools and management methods to tackle the problems that will increasingly threaten the European Union (EU) food production.
GENOMITE aims to understand the interactions between spider mites (Tetranychus urticae/ Tetranychus evansi), their host plants and climate change (CC) combining genomics, metabolomics and computer modeling approaches to understand the impact of climate change on this major cosmopolitan chelicerate pest.
The objectives of GENOMITE are to:
- Model species distribution and tritrophic interactions under CC.
- Find reciprocal transcriptional responses of mites and plants (tomato and strawberries) under CC.
- Identify plant and mite metabolites upon herbivory and CC.
- Identify mite elicitors/effectors.
- Find a correlation of plant transcriptomics and metabolomics responses with tritrophic performance and mite transcriptome responses.
- Drought increases the fecundity of Tetranychus urticae and Tetranychus evansi through changes in plant metabolic composition. Climate change may have a profound impact on economic crop damage caused by mites.
- Spider mite population modeling revealed that the spider mite ecological niche will expand with climate change, especially northwards in Europe, and represent an increasing threat to crop security.
- Feeding of tomato-adapted mites (Tetranychus urticae and Tetranychus evansi) is associated with similar patterns of tomato transcriptomic and metabolomics changes that reflect their ability to manipulate plant defenses.
- Spider mites manipulate the plant’s defense response by injecting protein molecules into the host plants. A collection of secreted peptides have been identified as a starting point for the characterisation of their function and the identification of the plant protein/processes they interact with.
- Development of novel protocols to deliver small molecules to spider mites that will provide a high-throughput platform to discover molecules with zero residues that can be efficient to control spider mites.