Spatial variability in ecosystem services: simple rules for predator-mediated pest suppression

Bianchi, F. J. J. A., Schellhorn, N. A., Buckley, Y. M. and Possingham, H. P. (2010) Spatial variability in ecosystem services: simple rules for predator-mediated pest suppression. Ecological Applications, 20 8: 2322-2333. doi:10.1890/09-1278.1

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Author Bianchi, F. J. J. A.
Schellhorn, N. A.
Buckley, Y. M.
Possingham, H. P.
Title Spatial variability in ecosystem services: simple rules for predator-mediated pest suppression
Journal name Ecological Applications   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1051-0761
Publication date 2010-12
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/09-1278.1
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 20
Issue 8
Start page 2322
End page 2333
Total pages 12
Place of publication Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract Agricultural pest control often relies on the ecosystem services provided by the predators of pests. Appropriate landscape and habitat management for pest control services requires an understanding of insect dispersal abilities and the spatial arrangement of source habitats for pests and their predators. Here we explore how dispersal and habitat configuration determine the locations where management actions are likely to have the biggest impact on natural pest control. The study focuses on the early colonization phase before predator reproduction takes place and when pest populations in crops are still relatively low. We developed a spatially explicit simulation model in which pest populations grow exponentially in pest patches and predators disperse across the landscape from predator patches. We generated 1000 computer-simulated landscapes in which the performance of four typical but different predator groups as biological control agents was evaluated. Predator groups represented trait combinations of poor and good dispersal ability and densityindependent and density-dependent aggregation responses toward pests. Case studies from the literature were used to inform the parameterization of predator groups. Landscapes with a small nearest-neighbor distance between pest and predator patches had the lowest mean pest density at the landscape scale for all predator groups, but there can be high variation in pest density between the patches within these landscapes. Mobile and strongly aggregating predators provide the best pest suppression in the majority of landscape types. Ironically, this result is true except in landscapes with small nearest-neighbor distances between pest and predator patches. The pest control potential of mobile predators can best be explained by the mean distance between a pest patch and all predator patches in the landscape, whereas for poorly dispersing predators the distance between a pest patch and the nearest predator patch is the best explanatory variable. In conclusion, the spatial arrangement of source habitats for natural enemies of agricultural pest species can have profound effects on their potential to colonize crops and suppress pest populations. © 2010 by the Ecological Society of America.
Keyword Biological control
Habitat configuration
Landscape ecology
Predator-prey interaction
Source-sink dynamics
Spatial ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 30 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 32 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Dec 2010, 14:47:56 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences