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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Predictive Modeling & Mitigation of Effects of Climate Change on Migration & Infestation Patterns of Semitropical/tropical Crop Pest Insects

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Establish a network of pest monitoring and collection sites in the southeastern U.S. 2. Map seasonal migration of S. frugiperda from the FL and TX overwintering areas into the central and eastern U.S. 3. Adapt and test models correlating migration and weather patterns to identify areas susceptible to increased infestation due to climate change. 4. Identify plant cultivars and develop control strategies to preempt or mitigate the anticipated expansion of S. frugiperda infestation into these susceptible areas.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1. Pheromone trapping and larval collections by a network of volunteer and cooperative agents. Monitoring information will be made available on the internet via PestWatch (Penn State). 2. Mapping of migration pathways by a novel haplotype analysis technique. 3. Modeling derived using General Circulation Model output and HYSPLIT atmospheric dispersion model predictions. 4. Mitigation efforts will focus on the adaptation of feeding attractant-based techniques currently being tested on the Noctuid pest Helicoverpa zea for use on S. frugiperda.


3.Progress Report:

Research activities conducted in this subordinate project relate directly to Objective 3D of the parent project to map the migration pathways of fall armyworm in North America and model the potential effects of climate change on infestation patterns.

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.


Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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