Location: Vegetable Crops Research
Project Number: 5090-21220-004-006-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2022
The objective is to investigate several of the mechanisms by which cranberries and other U.S. crops invoke chemical defenses when exposed to the pheromones of herbivorous insects.
1) Acute and chronic effects on the plant following exposure to insect pheromones. In the field and in greenhouse rooms, expose cranberries to the sex pheromones of their most significant natural enemies: cranberry fruitworm (A. vaccinii), sparganothis fruitworm (S. sulfureana), and black-headed fireworm (R. naevana). Based on acute or chronic exposure as well as pheromone concentration, investigate whether cranberries invoke a physiological response when exposed to such pheromones, measured in terms of jasmonic acid concentrations within insect-damaged tissues and undamaged tissues, and overall plant biomass. Gene activity can be measured using RNA-seq methods. The same procedures would be repeated with blueberries, mint, and potatoes. 2) Measure effects on herbivores. Observe levels of herbivory with and without exposure to sex pheromones, noting any reductions in herbivory attributable to the invoked defensive response. Note increases in plant biomass even in the absence of herbivores. 3) Report research findings through a wide variety of extension/outreach channels (local, regional, and national platforms).