ESA Annual Meetings Online Program

Hunter and hunted: Entomopathogenic nematodes in the soil food web

Tuesday, November 15, 2011: 2:20 PM
Room A12, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Mary Barbercheck , Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University park, PA
Insects killed by entomopathogenic nematodes and their symbiotic bacteria represent a resource with which soil arthropods can interact. These interactions can be positive for the nematode (e.g., soil arthropods serve as parasitic or phoretic hosts) or negative (e.g., nematodes serve as prey items). Under laboratory and field conditions, omnivorous and nematophagous predators can be voracious feeders. The capacity of a predator to exert a regulatory effect on a population of nematodes is determined partly by their ability to increase their population level and/or predation rate as prey density increases. The symbiotic bacteria associated with entomopathogenic nematodes also have the capacity to alter the interactions between nematodes and their predators. I will review research, focusing on work influenced by Dr. Harry Kaya, that has helped reveal biotic and abiotic factors that influence these predator/prey interactions and the potential impact of nematophagous natural enemies on entomopathogenic nematodes.