Thursday, 29 April 2010

Latest Journal of Applied Ecology - some interesting papers

There is a good section in the Journal of Applied Ecology this month on invasives/biocontrol, with 3 papers that caught my eye.  Not sure yet if we will review them for F1000, I will put forward the first one to Mark Lonsdale, but here is a summary of each:

Predicting parasitoid accumulation on biological control agents of weeds Q. Paynter, S.V. Fowler, A.H. Gourlay, R. Groenteman, P.G. Peterson, L. Smith and C.J. Winks (2010) Journal of Applied Ecology Volume 47 Issue 3, 575-582
This paper from New Zealand gives some potentially generalizable insights into the relationship between parasitoid, biocontrol agent and weeds and the impacts on non-target organisms. I like the hypotheses put forward and believe it could lead to further research, so we may well review this one.  From the abstract:
"Although our conclusions are based on an unavoidably limited data set, we conclude that biocontrol agents that escape attack from parasitoids are more likely to suppress weed populations and should be less likely to have significant indirect non-target effects in food webs. Biocontrol practitioners can reduce the chance of weed biocontrol agents attracting species-rich parasitoid faunas after introduction by (i) selecting agents that have species-poor parasitoid faunas in their area of origin, and/or (ii) avoiding agents that have 'ecological analogues' awaiting them in the introduced range."

Management response to one insect pest may increase vulnerability to another M.D. Klingenberg,  B.S. Lindgren, M.P. Gillingham and B.H. Aukema (2010) Journal of Applied Ecology Volume 47 Issue 3, 566-574
This Canadian study is an interesting case-study of the multiple factors that contribute to the exacerbation of an insect pest outbreak.  From the abstract:
"This study demonstrates how a management response to a large insect outbreak, itself mediated by anthropogenic factors, can predispose reforested stands to additional, unanticipated threats from other insects. Reforestation strategies following outbreaks of mountain pine beetle may need to include harvesting larger salvage blocks to minimize edge effects and reduce mortality from Warren root collar weevils. Moreover, the inclusion of deciduous non-host tree stock in planting mixes might reduce insect movement and limit tree mortality because of Warren root collar weevils."

Spatial and temporal variability in host use by Helicoverpa zea as measured by analyses of stable carbon isotope ratios and gossypol residues G. Head, R.E. Jackson, J. Adamczyk, J.R. Bradley, J. Van Duyn, J. Gore, D.D. Hardee, B. Rogers Leonard, R. Luttrell, J. Ruberson, J.W. Mullins, R.G. Orth, S. Sivasupramaniam and R. Voth (2010) Journal of Applied Ecology Volume 47 Issue 3, 583-592
I like this paper as it uses an interesting technique to analyse the true effectiveness of a 'high dose/refuge' management strategy for Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) resistance in target pests such as the cotton bollworm (CBW), Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) in transgenic Bt cotton Gossypium hirsutum L in the USA.  Data on stable carbon isotope ratios was used to assess the importance of refuges, a key part of the current management strategy.  It was found that these structured cotton refuges only play a relatively minor role in the management for this species. 

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