Using software to conduct statistical analyses, Turechek says he wanted to characterize the impact of specific climatic and geographic variables on the incidence of TYLCV and silverleaf whitefly populations.
The research showed the severity of TYLCV outbreaks was directly correlated to whitefly populations. Fewer whiteflies equated to fewer virus outbreaks.
The data also showed a correlation between TYLCV outbreaks and prevailing wind directions, with fields downwind having a higher outbreak incidence.
In addition, it showed that cold snaps reduced both TYLCV and whitefly populations.
What Turechek says they did notice was that proximity played a role in whitefly populations and disease severity.
Fields next to a field with high whitefly populations also had high numbers and higher TYLCV incidence.
Even fields that were two or three fields away still had high whitefly populations and a higher virus incidence.
Currently, ARS and university researchers are using the tool to survey tomatoes for the relatively new groundnut ringspot virus and thrips vectors. The work is being funded by the USDA’s Critical Issues program.