Pest and pathogen ecology

The ecology of important pests and pathogens of perennial horticultural and clonal crops, and the environmental and biotic factors which affect them, is being studied at East Malling with a view to gaining a deeper understanding of the processes that control populations, interactions and damage to crop hosts. The basis for pathogenicity, host specificity, resistance and intra- and interspecific communication is studied at the molecular and whole organism levels.

The deeper understanding gained is further informing methods of manipulating/managing pests and pathogens to develop sustainable management methods. Management methods for the individual pests and diseases are combined with existing sustainable methods to create integrated pest and pathogen management programmes which are evaluated and refined on a commercial farm scale.