- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's what Katja Poveda, assistant professor of entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., does.
Poveda is interested in "understanding these interactions at many different levels (from the plant to the landscape) to seek for more sustainable strategies to increase ecosystems services provided by insects such as pollination and natural enemies and to decrease dis-services mediated by herbivores to ultimately increase yield."
The Cornell entomologist will be at UC Davis on Wednesday, April 4 to discuss "Landscape Complexity Effects on Yield: The Importance of Arthropod-Mediated Ecosystem Services." She'll present a UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, April 4. in 122 Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive.
"In my seminar, I will be talking about the Guatemalan tuber moth (Tecia solanivora); a variety of native pollinators that visit strawberry in upstate New York; and pests of cabbage such as flea beetles, the imported cabbageworm (Pieris rapae) and Trichoplusia ni," she says.
A Cornell Chronicle news release, spotlighting Poveda and colleagues, indicates that potato plants boost the chemical defenses in their leaves when the Guatemalan tuber moth larvae feed on their tubers. The potato's response protects against leaf-eating pests, ensuring the plant can maintain sugar production to continue growing tubers during the moth larvae infestation. The research, published in the journal Oecologia, may lead to reducing potato damage from insect pests and increase tuber yields.
The Guatelmalan tuber moth is not in the United States, but it is spreading and is difficult to control, the scientists noted.
Poveda has co-authored such publications as "Landscape Simplification Decreases Wild Bee Pollination Services to Strawberry" (Journal of Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment); "Predicting Bee Community Responses to Land-Use Changs: Effects of Geographic and Taxonomic Biases" (Scientific Reports); "Can Overcompensation Increase Crop Production” (Ecology), “Landscape Simplification Reduces Classical Biological Control and Crop Yield” (Ecological Applications); “Leaf Herbivory Imposes Fitness Costs Mediated by Hummingbied and Insect Pollinators” (PloS One) and “Costs and Tradeoffs of Resistance and Tolerance to Belowground Herbivory in Potato” (PloS One). See more on Google Scholar.
Poveda's seminar is the first in a series of departmental seminars for the spring quarter. Coordinators are assistant professor Rachel Vannette, and Ph.D candidate Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab.