Summary: In this reading you will be reading about two agricultural pests, the potato blight, Phytophthora infestans, and the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. Both of these organisms have a close connection to the Columbian exchange and the development of modern agricultural technology. As you read this section, concentrate on the origin of these two pest, how they managed to move from their point of origin, and how the changes in agricultural practices facilitated their spread and exacerbated their impact on potatoes and human populations. Also pay attention to the role that human political and social policies had as these pest created famine across Europe; especially in Ireland.
- Reading due 6 March.
- First draft due 10 March.
- Comments due 13 March.
- Final draft due 15 March.
Essay: Briefly describe the movement of the potato blight and the Colorado beetle from their place of origin to their global distribution. Detail how developments in transportation, new trade routes, developing agricultural technologies all made the spread of these pests more severe and increased their impact on potato crops and the human populations that depended on them.