Of gallflies, bees, mosquitoes, and butterflies: researchers to discuss insects

The Ecological Society of America is proud to host its 86th Annual Meeting this year in Madison, Wisconsin from August 5-10. Over 3,000 scientists will attend and more than 1500 scientific presentations will be given during the week. Below is a sampling of some of the papers which will be presented on insects. Other topics to be covered during the meeting include climate change, ecological forecasting, invasive exotic species and agriculture. The meeting theme is Keeping All the Parts: Sustaining and Restoring Complex Ecosystems.

Weeds, Bugs, and Mice: Why Two Biocontrol Insects Failed.

Invasive exotic plants have become an expensive problem for land managers in many parts of the US. Using biological controls, such as the introduction of an insect to eat the offending plant, has become a popular control method in many regions of the country because biological controls are often less expensive and potentially safer than chemical herbicides. The current success rate for biological controls is very low, however, and though many biocontrol insects successfully establish and spread, they often fail to suppress the targeted weed. Amanda Stanley from the University of Washington will discuss her research on the topic and explore interactions between a well-known invasive, spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), two seedhead gallflies used as biocontrols (genus Urophora), and the native deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). Some researchers have wondered if the mice are eating the gallflies and preventing them from controlling the offensive weed. Stanleys work suggests that, although gallflies have become plentiful since their introduction 30 years ago, they fail to control the knapweed because they attack the target plants during a robust stage of life. The real effect of the mice on the gallfly numbers is negligible.

Time and Location: Wednesday, August 8, 2001. 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Hall of Ideas H.

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Contact: Nadine Lymn
Ecological Society of America

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