Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator HealthTitle: Climate mismatch between introduced biological control agents and their invasive host plants: improving biological control of tropical weeds in temperate regions
|HARMS, NATHAN - Environmental Laboratory, Us Army Engineer Research And Development Center, Waterways Experiment St
|KNIGHT, IAN - Environmental Laboratory, Us Army Engineer Research And Development Center, Waterways Experiment St
|MUKHERJEE, ABHISHEK - Indian Statistical Institute
|GONG, PING - Environmental Laboratory, Us Army Engineer Research And Development Center, Waterways Experiment St
|COETZEE, JULIE - Rhodes University
|RAGHU, S - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
|DIAZ, RODRIGO - Louisiana State University
Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2021
Publication Date: 6/12/2021
Citation: Harms, N.E., Knight, I.A., Pratt, P.D., Reddy, A.M., Mukherjee, A., Gong, P., Coetzee, J., Raghu, S., Diaz, R. 2021. Climate mismatch between introduced biological control agents and their invasive host plants: improving biological control of tropical weeds in temperate regions. Insects. 12(6):549. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060549.
Interpretive Summary: Mismatched distributions between biological control agents and their host plants occur for a variety of reasons but is often linked to climate, specifically differences in their low temperature tolerances. How to measure and use low temperature tolerances of control agents to inform agent prioritization, selection for redistribution, or predict efficacy is vitally important, but has not been previously synthesized in a single source. We discuss causes of climate mismatches between agents and target weeds, the traditional and non-traditional approaches that could be used to decrease the degree of mismatch and improve control, and regulatory issues to consider when taking such approaches. We also discuss the variety of cold tolerance metrics, their measurement and ecological value, and the types of modeling that can be done to improve predictions about potential distributions of agents. We also briefly touch on molecular bases for cold tolerance and opportunities for improving cold tolerance using modern molecular tools.
Technical Abstract: Many weed biological control programs suffer from large-scale spatial variation in success due to restricted distributions or abundances of agents in temperate climates. For some of the world’s worst aquatic weeds, agents are established but overwintering conditions limit their survival in higher latitudes or elevations. The resulting need is for new or improved site- or region-specific biological control tools. Here we review this challenge with a focus on low-temperature limita-tions of agents and propose a roadmap for improving success. Investigations across spatial scales, from global (e.g., foreign exploration), to local (selective breeding), to individual organisms (molecular modification) are discussed. A combination of traditional (foreign) and non-traditional (introduced range) exploration may lead to the discovery and development of better-adapted agent genotypes. A multivariate approach using ecologically-relevant metrics to quantify and compare cold tolerance among agent populations is likely required. These data can be used to inform environmental niche modeling combined with mechanistic modeling of species’ funda-mental climate niches and life histories to predict where, when, and at what abundance, agents will occur. Finally, synthetic and systems biology approaches in conjunction with advanced modern genomics, gene silencing and gene editing technologies may be valuable to identify and alter the expression of genes enhancing cold tolerance, but this technology in the context of weed biological control is still in its infancy.