Gareth’s Book Breaks New Ground

Published Wednesday, 24th October 2012 in Research news

A new book by SRUC Plant Pathologist Dr Gareth Hughes explains the theory behind many of the practical recommendations that help farmers decide how to control crop infections.

Gareth is part of the Crop and Soil Systems Group in Edinburgh and an expert on the epidemiology of plant diseases.

His textbook, “Applications of Information Theory to Epidemiology” is the first book to apply the methodology directly to plant diseases. At first glance it seems far removed from the day to day management choices farmers must make about whether and when to spray. In fact the picture Gareth’s formulae and models help build up about the way a disease is spreading underpins much of the expert advice his SRUC Research and Consulting colleagues give to growers.

Dr Hughes early research career focused on crop ecology and crop yield, with particular emphasis on how it can be affected by the way a disease spreads. The work he and colleagues went on to do led to the development of innovative ways of sampling fruit crops to determine disease levels and decide on control programmes. These methods are now widely used in the US where he received an award from Californian orange growers for applying theory to practice.   

“Applications of Information Theory to Epidemiology”, Dr Gareth Hughes. Pub APS Press (The American Phytopathological Society). 

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