Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:41 AM

Linking land-use patterns and pest dynamics in field corn

Megan E. O'Rourke, and Laura E. Jones, Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 406B Corson Hall, Ithaca, NY

The amount of suitable habitat in a landscape has the potential to affect the population dynamics of organisms. In regions where favorable habitat patches are abundant, insects may be able to colonize nearby habitat and maintain larger populations than in regions where favorable habitat is less abundant. This idea is explored through simple spatially explicit modeling of the population dynamics of European corn borers (Ostrinia nubilalis), northern corn rootworms (Diabrotica barberi), and western corn rootworms (Diabrotica virgifera) in regions with high and low numbers of simulated corn fields. Simulation results are compared to surveys of these pests from different counties in upstate New York where corn is more and less abundant. Preliminary results indicate that land-use patterns may have a significant effect on populations of agricultural pests, but the effects vary according to the dispersal abilities of insects.

Species 1: Coleoptera Chrysolmelidae Diabrotica virgifera (western corn rootworm)
Species 2: Coleoptera Chrysolmelidae Diabrotica barberi (northern corn rootworm)
Species 3: Lepidoptera Pyralidae Ostrinia nubilalis (European corn borer)