Biocontrol Science and Technology (2014) 24, 1425-1438

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Zsofia Szendrei, Alexandria Bryant, Daniel Rowley, Michael J. Furlong, Jason M. Schmidt and Matthew H. Greenstone (2014)
Linking habitat complexity with predation of pests through molecular gut-content analyses
Biocontrol Science and Technology 24 (12), 1425-1438
Abstract: Improving the diversity of farm systems or landscapes can lead to more effective biological control by providing refuge and alternative resources for colonising natural enemies. Within an experimental cabbage agroecosystem, we examined the effects of habitat management (i.e. herbicide use and cover crops) on pest populations and predator community structure, and report one of the first studies on the trophic links in this system using molecular gut-content analysis. In response to herbicide and cover crop management treatments designed to create different levels of habitat diversity, we quantified the abundance of two pests, Plutella xylostella Linnaeus (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) and Pieris rapae Linnaeus (Lepidoptera: Pieridae), and predators. We designed species-specific primers to detect prey DNA in predators' guts. Pieris rapae were significantly more abundant in plots where cover crops were killed early in the season, and habitat management generated unique predator communities in response to weed management treatments. Thirty-five per cent of predators tested positive for prey DNA, and habitat management had interactive effects on predation of P. xylostella. Combined we found that habitat management has variable effects on natural enemy–pest interactions.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Zsofia Szendrei, Matthew H. Greenstone, Jason M. Schmidt, Michael J. Furlong, Daniel L. Rowley

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
environment/habitat manipulation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Plutella xylostella
Pieris rapae