2012 Annual Report
Climate change is anticipated to alter weather systems with potentially significant changes in the migration behavior of agriculturally important pest insects. Therefore, studies to develop fall armyworm as a model system to monitor the annual movements of migratory Lepidoptera were initiated. Research activities accomplished in year one included: (1) development of a network of cooperators to monitor and collect fall armyworm from central and eastern U.S. and Canada to include 74 sites in the U.S. and 36 sites in Canada; (2) molecular characterization of over 2000 specimens for haplotype analysis; and (3) initiation of field studies to assess fall armyworm populations supported by the cover crop, sunn hemp. Mentoring activities included: (1) training of postdoctoral fellow; and (2) training of visiting scientist from CONICET, Argentina on haplotype analysis of fall armyworm subpopulations. Results from research activities were disseminated to stakeholders by participation in scientific conferences and meetings and in consulting services provide to private companies and public institutions. These included: (1) Climate Change and Implications for Plant Science Symposium, the University of Guelph, June 6-9, 2011; (2) Annual meeting of the North Central Committee NCERA-213 on the Migration and Dispersal of Agriculturally-Important Biota, Dallas, TX, October 5-6, 2011; (3) Department of Entomology, Penn State University, University Park, PA. October 14, 2011; (4) Annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Reno, NV, November 13-16, 2011; (5) consultations with Pioneer Hi-Bred and Monsanto on collection and genetic characterization of fall armyworm in the southeastern U.S.; (6) discussions with Dow Agrosciences on fall armyworm collections from Florida and the establishment of laboratory colonies; (7) consultations with CONICET, Argentina on fall armyworm population distributions in different host plant habitats; (8) consultations with the Everglades Research & Education Center, University of Florida, on the identification of fall armyworm strains infesting experimental corn plantings; and (9) Technology transfer of 20 DNA sequences describing the barcode region of fall armyworm and other Spodoptera species into the GenBank database.