Special Issue "Insect Ecology and Innovative Crop Management"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Systems and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 June 2023) | Viewed by 1320

Special Issue Editor

Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Interests: optical sensing; biotic crop stress; pesticide performance; insect ecology; drone actuation; use of advanced lighting and cold plasma technologies in integrated insect pest management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For the last several decades, the narrative around reducing heavy reliance on pesticides as the go-to solution in the management of crop pests (arthropods, nematodes, diseases, weeds, and vertebrates) has largely been driven by (negative) concerns about factors such as adverse environmental impacts, the exposure of agricultural workers, and pesticide residues on food products. The importance of these and several other concerns, both short- and long-term, has not diminished, but there may be an opportunity to promote a more positive message by show-casing opportunities of the use and deployment of ecological discoveries and innovative solutions. Accordingly, we are seeking mini-reviews, full reviews, opinion pieces, and standard research articles for a Special Issue highlighting the importance and relevance of ecological concepts, methods, innovative technologies, and approaches in 21st century crop management. It is paramount that we, as a collective group of fundamental and solution-driven scientists involved in crop management, appreciate and take advantage of past and recent ecological concepts and methods. Additionally, robotics, optical sensors, nano-technologies, molecular research, advanced environmental control, cold plasma, data-driven forecasting, and machine learning are just some of the many innovative research areas being deployed across the agricultural sector, and which are enabling new approaches to crop management. With a focus on why and how reliance on pesticides in crop management can be replaced with modern, innovative, and integrated tactics, we can promote more sustainable farming practices. Equally important, we can entice and attract new generations of scientists from a wide range of academic disciplines to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in pest management and sustainable food production.

Dr. Christian Nansen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • innovative technologies
  • precision pest management
  • smart farming
  • digital agriculture
  • insect pest ecology

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Can Insects Assess Environmental Risk? Movement Responses and Nymph Emergence in Response to Insecticides
Agriculture 2023, 13(3), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13030723 - 21 Mar 2023
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In natural habitats, there is a strong evolutionary selection pressure on herbivorous insects to avoid danger and choose suitable host plants. Similar selection pressures may drive movement and choices of oviposition hosts by herbivorous insects living in agricultural cropping systems, in which insecticides [...] Read more.
In natural habitats, there is a strong evolutionary selection pressure on herbivorous insects to avoid danger and choose suitable host plants. Similar selection pressures may drive movement and choices of oviposition hosts by herbivorous insects living in agricultural cropping systems, in which insecticides are often used. In this study, we quantified movement responses and nymph emergence (collectively referred to as bio-responses) of western-tarnished plant bug (Lygus hesperus Knight (Hemiptera: Miridae)) individuals when exposed to environments associated with a perceived “risk” (experimental insecticide treatments and their corresponding controls). We introduce a novel analytical approach in which treatments (risk environments) are ranked in ascending order based on bio-responses (movement or nymph emergence). Consequently, linear regression coefficients were generated and used to interpret bio-responses of Lygus individuals in different life stages to risk environments. Initially, we predicted movement by Lygus individuals to be positively associated with environmental risk and nymph emergence to be negatively associated with environmental risk. Overall, based on a comprehensive combination of no- and two-choice bioassays, we found that: (1) In no-choice bioassays, movement parameters (both total distance moved and movement percentage) by all three life stages were lowest in low-risk environments and highest when Lygus individuals were exposed to either malathion or Grandevo. Accordingly, environments involving malathion or Grandevo were considered high-risk. (2) No-choice movement bioassays also revealed that Lygus males moved significantly more (based on comparison of regression intercepts) than other life stages, and that they responded significantly more (based on comparison of regression slopes) than conspecific females and nymphs. (3) In two-choice movement bioassays, neem elicited the most consistent movement responses by Lygus individuals, and adult life stages showed the strongest response. Two-choice movement bioassays also revealed that Lygus adults, compared to nymphs, were more likely to spend time in low-risk areas of the test arenas. (4) Nymph emergence was markedly lower in no-choice compared to two-choice bioassays, and in two-choice bioassays, Grandevo and malathion elicited especially biased nymph emergence from low-risk beans. To our knowledge, this is the first study in which movement bioassays have been used to quantify and characterize behavioral responses by Lygus life stages to environments associated with varying degrees of risk. The novel analytical approach presented in this study provides a high degree of complementarity to more traditional performance-testing methods used to evaluate responses to insecticides. Furthermore, we believe that this analytical approach can be of considerable relevance to studies of animal phenomics and behavioral studies of animals more broadly, in which adaptation and fitness parameters are examined in response to environmental risk and heterogeneity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Ecology and Innovative Crop Management)
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