Ecological Entomology (2016) 41, 431-441

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Sandra Flores-Mejia, Jean-Frédéric Guay, Valérie Fournier and Conrad Cloutier (2016)
The influence of a parasitoid's response to temperature on the performance of a tri-trophic food web
Ecological Entomology 41 (4), 431-441
Abstract: 1. Food web interactions are complex and can respond to environmental changes in unpredictable ways that do not necessarily equate to the individual responses of each of the components of the food web.
2. Biomass can be used to evaluate the productivity of the three individual trophic levels, in the form of the Net Generational Productivity (NGP) and the performance of the entire food web with the newly developed tri-trophic food web performance ratio (3t).
3. These parameters were used to evaluate the performance of nine plant-based tri-trophic food webs composed of: potato, Solanum tuberosum L. and two cultivars of bell pepper Capsicum annuum L; three biotypes of the aphid Macrosiphum euphorbiae Thomas (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and the parasitoid wasp Aphidius ervi (Haliday) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).
4. The NGP showed that the thermal window for biomass productivity for each trophic level is different and is reduced by approximately 4 °C with respect to the inferior level. Aphidius ervi had the smallest thermal window for biomass productivity and development.
5. The present results showed that the performance (3t) of the tested food webs is influenced in a top-down fashion, where the intra-specific variation of the food web, namely the host plant, played a major role in the productivity of each of the subsequent trophic levels.
6. The 3t suggested that exposure to high and low temperatures might severely affect the effectiveness of A. ervi as a biocontrol agent of the aphid M. euphorbiae in bell pepper and potato crops.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
(original language: English)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Sandra Flores-Mejia, Valérie Fournier

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.

Macrosiphum euphorbiae Green pepper/chilli (Capsicum)
Macrosiphum euphorbiae Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
Aphidius ervi (parasitoid) Macrosiphum euphorbiae