2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The main goal of this project is to develop new knowledge to increase the
understanding of the biology and ecology of plant and insect pests in order to develop economical, effective, and environmentally acceptable technologies to improve their management in high latitude agriculture, especially in plant hardiness zones not found in the conterminous United States. This goal will be achieved through the two listed objectives.
Monitor and map the distribution and spread of weeds and invasive plants in high latitude agricultural systems and immediately adjoining natural land for patterns of diversity, origin, and spread, to provide strategies for integrated weed management programs in a changing climate.
Subobjective 1.1 Determine non-indigenous plant distributions in agricultural and
adjacent natural lands to assess their origin and spread.
Subobjective 1.2 Determine physiological limits of important selected invasive plant species at high latitudes.
Subobjective 1.3 Determine the impact of cold climates on weed management
Subobjective 1.4 Develop methods to control important invasive weeds species.
Subobjective 1.5 Develop models to predict change in plant and crop insect pests in response to changes in land management and climate.
Determine expanding habitats of select insect pests and insect vectors, including
grasshoppers as a model, to elucidate the impact of landscape and climate variables on IPM strategies for sustainable, high-latitude agricultural systems.
Subobjective 2.1 Assess the importance of predators and parasitoids on grasshopper population dynamics in Alaska.
Subobjective 2.2 Develop environmentally sound management of grasshoppers in
subarctic ecosystems through habitat manipulation.
Subobjective 2.3 Develop management techniques for aphid/leafhopper-mediated
disease transmission in Alaska.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The research agenda is derived from discussions with collaborating scientists, Alaska producers, and state and federal agencies. The main goal of this project is to develop new knowledge to increase the understanding of the biology and ecology of plant and insect pests in order to develop economical, effective, and environmentally acceptable technologies to improve their management in high latitude agriculture, especially in plant hardiness zones not found in the conterminous United States. Research will be conducted to enhanced productivity, profitability, and environmental quality of Alaska's farming industry and natural resource areas by reducing threats posed by plant and insect pests through research and technology transfer resulting in new and innovative IPM strategies in an environment of long days, short growing seasons, and a cool climate. The distribution and spread of weeds and invasive plants in high-latitude agricultural systems and immediately adjoining natural land for patterns of diversity, origin, and spread, to provide strategies for integrated weed management programs in a changing climate will be studied. The expanding habitats of select insect pests and insect vectors, including grasshoppers as a model, to elucidate the impact of landscape and climate variables on IPM strategies for sustainable, high-latitude agricultural systems will be determined.Replacing 5341-22000-002-00D (03/2011).
This report documents progress for 5341-22000-003-00D which started in December 2010 and continues research from Project Number 5342-22000-00D, entitled “Integrated Pest Management for Alaska Agriculture.”
This project was newly written and approved by OSQR, therefore work is just beginning on the Project Plan, with no milestones to report on until next calendar year. However, substantial work has already been accomplished in terms of project design and initiation. In the area of insect pest management, new research was initiated on an arthropod predator exclusion experiment to help determine the relative impact of these natural enemies on grasshopper population regulation. As many Alaskan grasshoppers have two-year life cycles with egg hatch only occurring every second season, it presents a unique challenge to predators that are active every year. Additionally, new studies have begun on the assessment of grasshopper hatching phenology in various habitats. Experimental plots have been selected and environmental data is being collected to assess temperature accumulation in heating units in both shrub and grassland habits. These data will be related to grasshopper developmental rates and thresholds to better predict the hatching times of grasshoppers in different habitats as well as nymphal phenology in common feeding sites. Work on other insect Integrated Pest Management projects has not yet been initiated, as critical unit vacancies are currently unfilled.
New studies on weed biology, ecology and control were also initiated beginning with spring thaw in May of 2011. Although preliminary in nature, these new studies are addressing how cold arctic and subarctic environmental conditions affect various weed control practices. For example, it was found that when herbicide residues begin to show up in the spring, that there is a spike or pulse of breakdown products that can be found in the soil. These spikes worried scientists and farmers as they were concerned about residual herbicide impacts on newly planted crops. Bioassay in combination with chemical extraction and analysis showed that although present in higher concentrations, these breakdown components were not biologically active. Additional studies have also been initiated to help determine other implications of arctic weather conditions on integrated weed management and also on the longevity of invasive weed seeds. These are longer, multi-year investigations and although conducted this year, results will not be available until subsequent seasons. To help bridge between this and the previous project, work is continuing on the assessment of various pathways of weed introduction and spread in arctic systems, including the affect of winter power equipment, such as snowmachines, in spreading weeds from roadsides into more remote areas. Preliminary experimentation has shown that this type of equipment accumulates and transports a large diversity of weed seed types and numbers.