UNDERSTANDING HOW PREDATION RISK BY LADY BEETLES SHAPES APHID BEHAVIOR AND PHYSIOLOGY IN AGROECOSYSTEMS

  • Hermann, S S. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Utilizing natural enemies for pest suppression has been a critical tenet of integrated pest management. Although biological control has been successful under specific agroecosystem contexts, generalist biological control agents often move freely about the landscape making long-term manipulation costly and difficult. Identifying novel alternative pest management strategies is key for maintaining plant health and providing food to growing populations. Biological control of pests traditionally relies on consumption by predators. However, the risk of predation alone causes non-consumptive effects (NCEs) on prey and are increasingly recognized. Risk of predation has been shown to alter behavior and physiology of insect herbivores. Yet, there is a lack of research aimed at utilizing predator cues to augment NCEs, allowing for improved pest management. My preliminary data suggests that ladybeetle chemical cues can reduce aphid abundance in the field. Although aphids respond to predation risk, the mechanism that allows for detection is unclear. The aim of this proposal is to elucidate the non-consumptive effects of predators on aphid performance, identify the mechanism(s) by which risk is perceived, and evaluate the indirect impacts of these NCEs on plant health using a globally important aphid-predator system. The project will enhance understanding of how predator cues can be manipulated to affect the abundance and distribution of aphids in agroecosystems. This represents an alternative management strategy that meets the AFRI-ELI goal of improved plant health. Outcomes from this work would not only support an early-career scientist, but has wide reaching implications for novel sustainable agriculture.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date4/1/181/8/20

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $94,893.00

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