Visit to Port Douglas for International Pest Risk Modelling Workshop

I attended a pest risk modelling and mapping working group in the lovely Port Douglas from 23-25th August. The workshop was titled ‘Pest Risk in a Changing World’ and included some really great presentations relating to the analysis and mapping of risk relating to invasive pest species but also a few domestic pest species. My presentation was titled “Risk analysis for Rhopalosiphum padi, and aphid species with variable reproductive modes” and showed some CLIMEX models that Darren Kriticos and I have been working on.

Lively discussion during a sunset river cruise

Lively discussion during a sunset river cruise

River cruise Port Douglas

River cruise Port Douglas

Insect Identification and Integrated Pest Management Workshop

We held our first IPM and insect identification pest management workshop in Wagga Wagga on the 19th August. We had about 18 participants including growers and consultants. Everyone was very pleased with the I-SPY manual which should provide a valuable resource for those wishing to identify the pests and beneficials in broad acre grains crops. We plan to hold a few more of these workshops throughout the course of the project.

Jo Holloway (I&I NSW) demonstrating the use of the suction sampler

Jo Holloway (I&I NSW) demonstrating the use of the suction sampler

Phil Bowden (I&I NSW) showing participants the catch

Phil Bowden (I&I NSW) showing participants the catch

Presentation of research at INTECOL next week

The 10th International Congress of Ecology is on in Brisbane next week (16-21st August)

I am due to give a presentation in the Ecosystem Services symposium (Tuesday 18th 3:15pm Mezzanine 2). The presentation abstract is here:

The provision of the ecosystem service of pest control on farms now and in the future

Sarina Macfadyen1, Rachel Gibson2, Paul Craze3, William O.C. Symondson4, Jane Memmott2

1CSIRO Entomology
2School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol
3Biology and Environmental Science, University of Sussex
4Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University

A precautionary approach to biodiversity management is often justified on the basis that the maintenance of a diversity of species is useful for the provision of a particular ecosystem service now and as a form biological ‘insurance’ against disturbances in the future. Natural pest control is one ecosystem service that is thought to be threatened by agricultural intensification. Here we examine the complex network of interactions between insect herbivores and their parasitoids to understand the relationship between parasitoid species richness, functional group diversity and the provision of natural pest control services across time. We utilise 20 farms that display a gradient of parasitoid species richness as a result of farming system. We hypotheses firstly, that there will be a strong correlation between parasitoid species richness and variability in parasitism rate at the whole-farm level. Secondly, those farms with greater parasitoid species richness within functional groups will experience better pest control services in the future. Finally, we use species interactions to identify the key parasitoid species important for providing pest control services in this context.