Aphid parasitoids in organic and conventional farming systems

L. Raso, D. Sint & M. Traugott (PI)

A cooperation with Dr. Jane Memmott & Dr. Sarina Pearce, School of Biological Sciences, Bristol University   Parasitoids are important natural enemies of some of our most devastating crop pests, however, managing parasitoid-host interactions in agroecosystems for economic benefit is a difficult task. Most parasitoids are small and are impossible for a non-specialist to identify. Furthermore, clear visual evidence of parasitism in the host may take a number of days to develop during which time the host must be kept alive in the laboratory. Molecular techniques are increasingly being used to study and understand this complex group of insects. Within this project a molecular detection system will be developed for identifying a number of parasitoid species present in aphid hosts. Parasitoids are important natural enemies of aphids. We will use the molecular approach to obtain first data on assessing if farming system (organic versus conventional) has an impact on parasitism rate and parasitoid assemblage structure.

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Aphid Parasitoids1

Aphid Parasitoids2