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Phenology: more to aphid suppression than predator and plant defense

Dr. Ricardo Ramirez, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, The University of Arizona

Monday, November 26, 2012
  4:10–5 p.m.

Location: Genomics Building 1102A
  Parking Information

Category: Seminar


There is increasing evidence in the conservation biological control literature that increasing predator diversity can lead to improved pest suppression. In these studies, however, predators are often represented by a single life-stage. In alfalfa, there is a diverse community of predators whose juvenile life-stages are predatory and occur simultaneously with their adult counterparts. It appears these phenological differences in predator communities are as important to aphid suppression as conserving a diverse predator community. Furthermore, aphid phenology can also influence their pest status. Early season herbivores have the ability to change plant quality and interact with other herbivores that occur later in the season. Stem nematodes infect alfalfa early on and have the potential to induce plant responses and counteract plant resistance to aphids, increasing aphid abundance. Yet, when aphids occur early in the season, as in the cotton system, the combined interactions of predators and induced plant responses suggest aphids may act as plant mutualists. Here, aphids recruit predators and prime plant defenses that together suppress more damaging herbivores later in the season.

Open to: Faculty/Staff Only
Admission: Free
Sponsor: Entomology Department

Contact Information:
Dr. Matt Daugherty