Scientific critique of the paper “Climatic distribution of citrus black spot caused by Phyllosticta citricarpa. A historical analysis of disease spread in South Africa” by Martínez-Minaya et al. (2015)
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The global distribution of citrus black spot (CBS) disease, caused by Phyllosticta citricarpa, is climatically constrained, which is evident from its occurrence in citrus growing areas with warm, summer rainfall and its absence from areas with cooler, Mediterranean-type winter rainfall. Various epidemiological and modelling studies have supported this observation, predominantly estimating unsuitability for P. citricarpa in Mediterranean type climates, with no more than marginal suitability estimated at a few localities within some regions with Mediterranean type climates. The study by Martínez-Minaya et al. (European Journal of Plant Pathology, 143, 69–83, 2015), describes an historic sequence of recorded CBS occurrence in parts of South Africa, conducts an autocorrelation analysis and a correlative analysis with Köppen-Geiger climate zones and makes observations about the occurrence of certain Köppen-Geiger climate zones in the European Union. The study suggests that significant portions of the European Union and the broader Mediterranean basin are climatically similar to warm, summer rainfall areas in South Africa where P. citricarpa persists and causes CBS disease and concludes that the potential distribution of P. citricarpa is less constrained by climatic factors than spatial contagion. However, in this critique we expose methodological shortcomings in the Martínez-Minaya et al. (European Journal of Plant Pathology, 143, 69–83, 2015) study and conclude that the study grossly overestimated the extent of the geographical area that could support P. citricarpa, thereby rendering the findings scientifically unreliable.
KeywordsCBS Epidemiology Guignardia
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