© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 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.
- Alternaria fungal spores
- Climate change