Botanical epidemiology is the study of how plant pathogens and the diseases that they cause are affected by the environment and plant host. To study these interactions botanical epidemiologists often turn to models to help understand how diseases develop, what the potential risks might be and how they could be or when they should be controlled. Many different modelling approaches can be used, which range from statistical models to biophysical crop growth models with functions for yield losses due to pests and disease. Geographic information systems (GIS) help us to piece together information that have geographic relationships to develop better understanding and promote further inquiries through the use of maps. Using modelling alone or by linking it with GIS we can extend our research to the field.
Spatial modelling of the effects of climate change on rice diseases in Tanzania and mapping common diseases in India for breeders to understand where different stresses occur or co-occur. Using these combined approaches can help us as plant pathologists to understand and communicate what is happening in the rice field and what possible risks may be and make recommendations. These recommendations can range from identifying stress-prone areas for research priorities or targeted deployment of resistant or tolerant varieties to providing farmers with recommendations for pest management giving us insights into what is happening in the rice field.