Researcher Name: Silvana V. de Paula Moraes
Researcher Location: West Florida REC / Jay, Milton
Co-Researchers: None Listed
Project Title: Ecology of pests associated with field crops in Florida Panhandle
Project Focus Area: Entomology and Nematology
Project Location: West Florida REC / Jay, Milton
Project Description: One of the key aspects in the IPM is the host/pest/climate interactions, which affect the vulnerability of the cropping systems. Florida Panhandle is located in an ecological transition zone between temperate and subtropical climates with a mosaic of natural vegetation, forests and field crops, and a unique biodiversity of insects, made up of pollinators, natural enemies and numerous arthropod pests. It is also a potential pathway for invasive pests entering the U.S. While, some technical publications reporting pest and beneficial insects are available for the Southeast, documentation of the presence and interactions of pest and beneficial insect species in field in the unique landscape and climate is lacking. This project has the following objectives: 1) Characterize the bionomics of the pests associated with peanut in laboratory conditions, considering parameters of pest survival, fecundity, and number of generations; 2) Evaluate the seasonal, stage-specific occurrence and abundance (phenology) of the pests associated with sentinel plots of corn, cotton and peanuts ,at WFREC and in commercial fields in Florida Panhandle; The overall goal is to increase the science-based knowledge of the pests and beneficial insects specifically associated with field crops in the Florida Panhandle, and improve the pest management decision-making and efficiency.
Intern Duties: The student will participate in insect samplings in experimental and commercial fields, implement and evaluate experiments of pest ecology studies, and help to establish and maintenance the insect colony. During the research project the student will learn techniques of pest sampling, insect rearing, experimental design, data analysis and interpretation of the results. The findings will be reported in a poster, and the ultimate goal is to provide students a hands-on experience using the study of the insects as a model for student’s engagement in science, and exploring professional opportunities.