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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research » Research » Research Project #444604

Research Project: Overwintering Physiology of Insect Pollinators and Pests

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

Project Number: 3060-21220-032-018-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 30, 2024

The objectives for this research are to investigate the overwintering physiology of insect pollinators and pests, with the overall goal of improving pollinator quality and discovering novel control strategies for pest population control in agricultural ecosystems. Towards these goals, the project will focus on the following objectives: 1) characterize pollinator performance after being reared in various thermal regimes, 2) characterize pollinator stress physiology, especially relating to managed species and the effects of management stress on pollinator quality, 3) characterize insect immune function, especially as it related to overwintering conditions, and 4) characterize the thermal biology of insects of economic importance, such as the sugar beet root maggot.

The following approaches will be used to address the objectives of the agreement. 1) the characterization of pollinator performance after being reared in various thermal regimes will include laboratory studies to assess flight performance and antioxidant assays to assess long-term thermal damage, 2) pollinator stress physiology characterization may include a variety of techniques at the organismal, cellular, and molecular levels, 3) Immune function assessments will be conducted by developing laboratory assays to measure immune genes in pollinators and interpretation of the results with respect to overwintering conditions, and 4) thermal biology characterization will initially focus on the sugar beet root maggot by assessing cold tolerance of various life stages.