Effects of Grassland Habitat and Plant Nutrients on Soybean Aphid and Natural Enemy Populations

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2011-04-01
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O'Neal, Matthew
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Entomology

The Department of Entomology seeks to teach the study of insects, their life-cycles, and the practicalities in dealing with them, for use in the fields of business, industry, education, and public health. The study of entomology can be applied towards evolution and ecological sciences, and insects’ relationships with other organisms & humans, or towards an agricultural or horticultural focus, focusing more on pest-control and management.

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The Department of Entomology was founded in 1975 as a result of the division of the Department of Zoology and Entomology.

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The soybean aphid Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is an invasive economic pest of soybean (Glycine max[L.] Merrill) in the United States. Research has shown the endemic natural enemy community in the United States is capable of suppressing A. glycines below EILs, but this biological control is inconsistent, especially in simple agricultural landscapes. In the course of a 3-yr project (2006–2008) we sought to determine the affects of landscape composition, configuration, and plant nutrients (N, P, and K) on A. glycines and aphidophagous natural enemy abundance. Specifically, we tested whether nearby grasslands contribute to the abundance of natural enemies and the suppression of A. glycines. The study site was located around the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, composed of >2,000 ha of reconstructed prairie, located in Jasper County, IA. We sampled A. glycines, natural enemies, and plant nutrients in 100 soybean fields while characterizing the landscape surrounding each field. A. glycinesabundance was lowest in 2006 but reached economically damaging populations in 2007 and 2008. The ratio of natural enemies to A. glycines decreased in each year of our study (2006 > 2007 > 2008). Variation in A. glycines and natural enemies was best explained by year and, to a lesser extent by plant nutrient levels and landscape variables. Results suggest grassland habitat did not significantly contribute to the biological control of A. glycines. Furthermore, yearly decline of natural enemy may have facilitated the colonization of A. glycines leading to outbreaks later in the season.

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This article is from Environmental Entomology, 40(2):260-272, 2011,
doi: 10.1603/EN10269

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Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2011
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