Alternaria spores in the air across Europe: abundance, seasonality and relationships with climate, meteorology and local environment
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We explored the temporal and spatial variations in airborne Alternaria spore quantitative and phenological features in Europe using 23 sites with annual time series between 3 and 15 years. The study covers seven countries and four of the main biogeographical regions in Europe. The observations were obtained with Hirst-type spore traps providing time series with daily records. Site locations extend from Spain in the south to Denmark in the north and from England in the West to Poland in the East. The study is therefore the largest assessment ever carried out for Europe concerning Alternaria. Aerobiological data were investigated for temporal and spatial patterns in their start and peak season dates and their spore indices. Moreover, the effects of climate were checked using meteorological data for the same period, using a crop growth model. We found that local climate, vegetation patterns and management of landscape are governing parameters for the overall spore concentration, while the annual variations caused by weather are of secondary importance but should not be neglected. The start of the Alternaria spore season varies by several months in Europe, but the peak of the season is more synchronised in central-northern Europe in the middle of the summer, while many southern sites have peak dates either earlier or later than northern Europe. The use of a crop growth model to explain the start and peak of season suggests that such methods could be useful to describe Alternaria seasonality in areas with no available observations.
KeywordsAlternaria fungal spores Pathogens Aeroallergens Climate change Exposure
Dr. C. A. Skjøth is supported by European Commission through a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (Project ID CIG631745 and Acronym SUPREME). Dr. C. H. Pashley is supported by the Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA) and the National Institute for Health Research Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit. Dr. S. Fernández-Rodríguez and Dr. R. Tormo-Molina are supported by Regional Government Science Foundation of the Junta de Extremadura through the two projects: PRI06A190, PRI BS10008. Dr. A. Damialis has been supported by the Research Committee of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Excellence Fellowships of Postdoctoral Researchers, 2011). Dr. I. Kasprzyk and Dr. M. Jędryczkaare supported by National Science Centre Project No. N N305 321,737. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the European Commission, the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
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