Habitat management for beneficial insects on Willamette Valley vegetable and berry farms Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x920g151v

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  • Conservation biological control involves manipulating farm landscapes or management systems to enhance populations of beneficial predators of agricultural pests. Farmscaping is one aspect of conservation biological control where predators of important pests are identified, the availability on the farm landscape of resources and habitat components needed by the beneficials to complete their lifecycles is evaluated, and hedgerows, beetle banks, or other conservation plantings can be added to the landscape to provide the lacking resources. To be able to efficiently survey a farm landscape for the presence of resources that support beneficial predator populations there needs to be information on the resource availability with different habitats. This dissertation describes a series of investigations into determining the amount of resources available in particular habitat types, and how to create conservation plantings which provide these resources with minimal expense and impact on the farming system. The first investigation is into the floral resource availability to parasitoid wasps in cane berry production landscapes. A meta analysis was performed to estimate the effects of different species on longevity of and attraction to various flowers. This information was then used to evaluate the plant species found on Willamette valley cane berry farms and calculate the total floral resource availability of different habitats during different times of the year. Surveys identified particular habitats on the landscape, and different management regimes as having high floral resource availability relative to other habitats or management regimes. The second investigation focuses on the biology of a group of ground beetles that are common on Willamette valley vegetable farms. Pitfall trapping and soil core samples were used to determine the seasonal activity patterns of the carabids, and to identify which habitats they were using most. Sentinel prey cards were used to compare pitfall trap counts with the risk of predation of a potential prey item. Laboratory experiments identified differences in the feeding and activity of different species, and the changes over the season. The third investigation used soil cores to sample the over wintering arthropod predator populations in a variety of habitats on Willamette valley farms, and in plantings of native species on beetle banks in a common garden at the Hyslop research farm in Corvallis, Oregon. Grassy habitats were found to support the highest arthropod populations both on the farms and in the common garden. Some perennial forbs also had high arthropod numbers, while other perennial forbs and annual forbs had low numbers. Differences in the number of over wintering arthropods in different species were related with differences in the structure and composition of the vegetation. The information presented here can be used to assign value to different habitats based on the provision of specific resources required for beneficial predators to complete their life cycles. This will aid in rapid evaluations of farm landscapes based on aerial imagery interpretation or a quick tour. After initial predictions are made it is easier to conduct more in depth sampling to confirm whether the beneficials are in fact present and thriving. If there are resources that are in too short a supply the information provided here will help in designing conservation plantings to provide those resources.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Michael Russell (russelmi@onid.orst.edu) on 2013-06-14T19:16:51Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) RussellMichaelC2013.pdf: 2316406 bytes, checksum: 7569e1f500265b1cd4d2785ca26acdda (MD5)
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