Modeling pollinator movements to predict transgene escape in insect-pollinated crops

Tuesday, November 12, 2013: 9:36 AM
Meeting Room 12 B (Austin Convention Center)
Johanne Brunet , Entomology, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Madison, WI
Yang Zhao , Statistics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Megan Van Etten , Entomology, USDA - ARS, Madison, WI
Margaret W. Thairu , Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Vera Pfeiffer , Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Jillian Henss , Entomology, USDA-ARS, Madison, WI
Murray Clayton , Statistics and Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Despite the fact that genetically-engineered varieties are and will continue to be developed for many insect-pollinated crops, we have a poor understanding of how insect pollinators affect the movement of genes. Because pollinator movement is an important component of how genes are moved by insect pollinators, we contrast the behavior of three different pollinators foraging on alfalfa flowers. We examine the distance and direction traveled between consecutive racemes (flower clusters) and the number of flowers visited per raceme for honey bees, leaf cutting bees and bumble bees. Statistical models highlight the most important factors influencing pollinator movements. These factors are then included in a simulation model of pollinator movements. Simulating pollinator movement represents an important step in the development of a model of insect-mediated gene flow to mitigate the risk of transgene escape in insect-pollinated crops.