EntSoc’s new position statement on biodiversity

Image: From the Entomological Society of America’s position statement on insects and biodiversity. The Entomological Society of America released another great position statement last week. The statement addresses biodiversity and the causes and consequences of species decline. While interacting with legislative staff in Washington, I’ve been told that these sorts of statements are broadly seen as very useful by policy makers and elected officials. The ability to quickly draw on information from a respected scientific…

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Quick facts

Image: Part of Table 1 from Pimentel et al. (2005) Ecological Economics. As a new U.S. president-elect prepares to move into the White House, and as we face an increased need to advocate for science-based federal policies, I thought it would be useful to bring together some fact sheets and articles that have eye-catching stats and/or effective arguments advocating for issues relating to the field of entomology. Many of these I pulled from the Entomological…

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BIOCAT is updated!!!

Image: Fig 2 from Cock et al. (2016) BioControl. Finally, there is an update to Greathead & Greathead’s (1992) database on  classical biological control of insects! Cock et al. (2016) present a nice update in BioControl of Greathead & Greathead’s seminal paper, and they allude to more papers and analyses to come. Awesome! This update is important because so many changes have occurred in the last couple decades regarding ecological risk assessment of classical biological control…

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Test of the enemy release hypothesis (Schultheis et al. 2015)

Image: Figure 1 from Schultheis et al. (2015) Ecology. The enemy release hypothesis (ERH) seeks to explain why some exotic species become invasive.  Basically,  ERH proposes that a lack of co-evolved natural enemies in the introduced (adventive) range means that there will be less top-down pressure regulating the exotic species, which allows it to reach higher densities than it does in its native range. Of course, the intensity of top-down pressure is not the only…

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Biological invasions → greenhouse gas emissions (Qiu 2015)

Image: Figure 4 from Qiu (2015) Global Ecol Biogeogr. Looking for a PhD project? Jiangxiao Qiu, a PhD student in Monica Turner’s lab at University of Wisconsin, Madison, just published your proposal. There are so many well outlined knowledge gaps and research questions in his new meta-analysis in Global Ecology and Biogeography, it makes me jealous. There’s quite a bit of literature out there now about how climate change may affect biological invasions. For example, Stachowitz…

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Competition between native and exotic species

Image: Screenshot from USDA PLANTS database Lonicera maackii profile.   What factors cause exotic species to displace natives species? Delving into this question, ecologists have suggested that both direct competition for resources and asymmetrical susceptibility to consumers may be important drivers of community change following an introduction.  Exotic and native species may interact indirectly, displaying competitive effects due to a shared consumer (i.e. apparent competition). Of course, direct and indirect competitive forces are not mutually exclusive, and both may be important…

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Invasive parasite of Darwin’s finches

Image: Adult male Philornis downsi from Bulgarella et al. (2015)  My lab mates are doing some great work with the fly Philornis downsi, and getting some press too! Nice work Mariana et al. :) It’s quite a terrible situation that this accidentally introduced parasitic fly is threatening to kill off bird species endemic to the Galapagos. Any human caused extinction is sad, but the cultural value of Darwin’s finches would make these losses especially tragic. Fortunately, there are some very…

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Trissolcus japonicus in North America

Image: Elijah Talamas, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Entomology Laboratory via StopBMSB.org) A parasitoid of Halyomorpha halys (the brown marmorated stink bug) has been found in North America. This parasitoid, Trissolcus japonicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), was being evaluated in quarantine as a potential classical biological control agent of H. halys. Read this for more details.

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