Iqbal Singh Aujla

Iqbal Singh Aujla
  • PhD Candidate
  • Washington State University
  • Plant Pathology


Tim Paulitz

Research Focus: 

Impact of climate change on foliar and soil borne pathogens of wheat in the Pacific Northwest region

Research Abstract: 

With the projected rise in world population and limited cultivable land, there will be a constant pressure on the scientists and farmers to meet the huge demands for achieving the targets of food and fibre required to sustain the human population. Further this pressure will increase due to the projected climate changes which are already in progress. It is of serious concern as it threatens the capacity of humanity to meet the food and fiber needs of a continuously growing population. Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest region is potentially vulnerable to projected climate change because of its dependence on reliable annual and seasonal precipitation or irrigation supplies from annual surface water sources, adequate temperatures and growing seasons, and the sensitivity of crops to temperature extremes, all of which are projected to change, albeit with different levels of uncertainty, during the coming century. According to the IPCC (Easterling et al. 2007) warming that exceeds 4.5-5 °C (8-9 °F) in higher latitude regions worldwide will tend to overwhelm autonomous adaptation causing declining yields. Northwest temperatures are projected to approach this level of warming by late 21st century under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES)-A2 emissions scenario of continued growth (Kunkel et al. 2013; Nakicenovic et al. 2000). The yield of crops is affected to large extent by diseases caused by various pathogens. The climate change will not only affect the distribution patterns of the fungal pathogens, but also their severity depending upon the requirements of the fungi for soil moisture levels and temperature. Soil-borne fungi can only actively grow and infect plants when soil moisture is adequate and temperatures are optimum. Under extremely dry, cold, or hot conditions, fungi cease growth and form resistant structures to survive until conditions are suitable. Thus, changes in climate may have a profound effect on the distribution of fungal diseases. So, the focus of this study is to analyze the impact of climate change on the distribution patterns of both foliar and soil borne fungal pathogens of wheat in the Pacific Northwest regions.


Iqbal Singh Aujla joined Dr. Timothy Paulitz's lab as a Ph.D student in the fall semester, 2012. He will be working on 'Modeling the distribution of soilborne pathogens and stripe rust in dryland wheat cropping systems of the Pacific Northwest under climate change scenarios'. He did his BS in 1998 and MS specializing in Plant Pathology in 2000 from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana (India). He joined PAU services as Assistant Professor (Extension Plant Pathology) in 2001. During his stint of 7 years in extension, besides raising income of many vegetable growers several folds by practicing proper disease management practices, three farmers were also awarded with best farmer award by PAU working under his guidance. He also gave recommendation on fungicidal management of false smut of rice. Then in 2007, he was transferred to the post of Assistant Plant Pathologist in vegetable research. His research work focused on vegetables grown under protected environment. He has given recommendation on management of soil-borne pathogens (fungi and nematodes) through soil solarization and has also developed a complete package on cultivation of peppers in net houses and naturally ventilated poly houses, increasing yield of peppers by 100-250 percent.