Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2008
Publication Date: 10/1/2009
Citation: Carroll, M.W., Glaser, J.A., Hellmich II, R.L., Hunt, T.E., Calvin, D., Sappington, T.W., Copenhaver, K., Fridgen, J. 2009. Detection of European Corn Borer Infestation in Iowa Corn Plots using Spectral Vegetation Indices Derived from Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery. Journal of Economic Entomology. 101(5):1614-1623. Interpretive Summary: This research examines the use of airborne remote sensing to detect corn stressed by European corn borers. Multiple flights with a small airplane equipped with sensors to detect hyperspectral images were made over research plots during the summers of 2004 and 2005. Eleven different spectral vegetation indices that target the foliar plant pigments chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, carotenoid, and anthocyanin were used to distinguish small plots of corn either infested or not infested with European corn borers. The indices best distinguished infested and non-infested control plots in late August and early September. In general, the chlorophyll pigments were better than carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments for detecting corn stressed from insect injury. The analyses also suggested feeding and stem boring by corn borer larvae increases the rate of plant senescence. These results suggest that detection of plant stress caused by European corn borer larvae with remote sensing technology is possible. However, further study with larger fields is required before this technology can be used with production corn. This research should be useful to all stakeholders interested in using remote sensing technology to detect insect injury in crops, particularly corn.
Technical Abstract: Remote sensing technology was used to distinguish corn infested with European corn borers, Ostrinia nubilalis, from corn that was not infested. In 2004 and 2005, eleven spectral vegetation indices that emphasize foliar plant pigments were calculated using airborne hyperspectral imagery. Manual inoculations were timed to simulate corn infestations by first and second generation moths. The indices best distinguished infested and non-infested control plots in late August and early September. In general, the chlorophyll pigments were better than carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments for detecting corn stressed from insect injury. The analyses also suggested feeding and stem boring by O. nubilalis larvae increases the rate of plant senescence, as indicated by detectable differences in infested and control plots. Spectral differences of manually inoculated second generation O. nubilalis plots appeared to peak 5-6 weeks post infestation.