Tuesday, 19 November 2002 - 1:20 PM

This presentation is part of : The Ecological Basis of Conservation Biological Control of Insect Pests

Laying some foundations for conservation biological control theory

Geoff M. Gurr, University of Sydney, Faculty of Rural Management, P.O. Box 883, Orange, Sydney, NSW, Australia and S.D. Wratten, Lincoln University, Soil, Plant and Ecological Sciences Division, P.O. Box 84, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Though conservation biological control (CBC) uses some ancient techniques, such as mixed cropping, it is only in recent years that researchers have transcended ad hoc attempts and begun to lay down theoretical foundations. CBC is, therefore, less well advanced than the other branches of biological control, inundative and classical. Two broad CBC approaches are evident in the literature. The first seeks to increase botanical diversity within agroecosystems with, for example, multi-species ‘insectary crops’ planted as strips within or beside arable crops or as groundcovers in perennial crop systems. The contrasting school works with single species strips or groundcovers, seeking to quantify the relative merits of species and the mechanisms by which any pest suppression occurs. Clearly, it is the latter that offers the best scope to lay down ecological theory to support the development of CBC as a technology. Examples from Australasian research in annual and perennial systems will be used to illustrate four emerging themes: (i) discovery and use of selective food plants that favour natural enemies without allowing feeding by pests, (ii) quantification of the spatial extent of benefits to enemies to guide layouts of CBC features such as flowering strips, (iii) recognition of broader benefits of biodiversity that may encourage uptake of CBC and (iv) 'integrated biological control', the use of CBC approaches to improve success rate in classical and inundative biological control.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Encyrtidae Copidosoma koehleri (potato moth egg parasite)
Species 2: Lepidoptera Gelechiidae Phthorimaea operculella (potato moth)
Species 3: Hymenoptera Trichogrammatidae Trichogramma carverae (lightbrown apple moth egg parasite)
Keywords: parasitoid, potato

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