Entomology Research Works

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    Net Methane Production Predicted by Patch Characteristics in a Freshwater Wetland
    (Wiley, 2023-12-27) Sharp, Sean J.; Maietta, Christine E.; Stewart, Graham A.; Taylor, Aileen K.; Williams, Michael R.; Palmer, Margaret A.
    Methane (CH4) dynamics in wetlands are spatially variable and difficult to estimate at ecosystem scales. Patches with different plant functional types (PFT) represent discrete units within wetlands that may help characterize patterns in CH4 variability. We investigate dissolved porewater CH4 concentrations, a representation of net CH4 production and potential source of atmospheric flux, in five wetland patches characterized by a dominant PFT or lack of plants. Using soil, porewater, and plant variables we hypothesized to influence CH4, we used three modeling approaches—Classification and regression tree, AIC model selection, and Structural Equation Modeling—to identify direct and indirect influences on porewater CH4 dynamics. Across all three models, dissolved porewater CO2 concentration was the dominant driver of CH4 concentrations, partly through the influence of PFT patches. Plants in each patch type likely had variable influence on CH4 via root exudates (a substrate for methanogens), capacity to transport gas (both O2 from and CH4 to the atmosphere), and plant litter quality which impacted soil respiration and production of CO2 in the porewater. We attribute the importance of CO2 to the dominant methanogenic pathway we identified, which uses CO2 as a terminal electron acceptor. We propose a mechanistic relationship between PFT patches and porewater CH4 dynamics which, when combined with sources of CH4 loss including methanotrophy, oxidation, or plant-mediated transport, can provide patch-scale estimates of CH4 flux. Combining these estimates with the distribution of PFTs can improve ecosystem CH4 flux estimates in heterogenous wetlands and improve global CH4 budgets.
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    Legacy effects of long-term autumn leaf litter removal slow decomposition rates and reduce soil carbon in suburban yards
    (Wiley, 2024-02-22) Ferlauto, Max; Schmitt, Lauren; Burghardt, Karin T.
    Societal Impact Statement As cities grow, it is essential to understand how landscape management decisions in urban spaces alter ecosystem function. This study demonstrates that the ubiquitous practice of long-term leaf litter removal in suburbs, even in relatively small patches of a yard, reduces the soil's ability to cycle nutrients in plant litter and results in lower amounts of carbon stored in the soil. Even two years of retaining leaves where they previously were removed is insufficient to restore decomposition rates or carbon pools. This research is an important step in creating best practices for litter management to maintain essential ecosystem functions, like carbon sequestration, water holding capacity, and soil fertility. Summary Seasonal senesced leaf litter removal eliminates considerable organic material from suburban soils annually. We test if this disturbance alters decomposition and carbon cycles and depletes soils of organic matter over time, creating persistent legacy effects. We used a factorial experimental design to implement 1–2 years of current leaf litter manipulations (remove or retain fallen leaves) within historically raked and unraked areas in suburban Maryland yards. We then compared total organic soil carbon and decomposition using a standardized substrate decomposition methodology (Tea Bag Index) across treatment plots. Long-term litter removal in suburban yards reduced decomposition rates by 17% and total soil organic carbon concentration by up to 24% compared to areas where leaf litter was retained in situ. In contrast, short-term management changes (1–2 years) did not significantly impact decomposition rates or total organic soil carbon concentrations. Our findings suggest that long-term suburban litter raking creates legacy effects that alter decomposition and carbon storage process trajectories that are not easily reversed. This is important in understanding urban ecosystem function and sustainable management.
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    Influence of cover cropping and conservation tillage on weeds during the critical period for weed control in soybean
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-11) Yurchak, Veronica; Leslie, Alan; Hooks, Cerruti R.R.
    Limited research has been directed at evaluating the ability of single cover crop plantings to suppress weeds in crops beyond the initial field season. Thus, this experiment was conducted to investigate the ability of a second-year self-regenerated annual and second-year perennial cover crop planting to suppress weeds during the critical period for weed control (CPWC) in soybean crops. Whole-plot treatments included 1) conventional till, 2) no-till with cover crop residue, 3) living mulch + cover crop residue, and 4) living mulch + winter-killed residue. Subplot treatments involved weed management intensity: a) no weed management (weedy), b) weeds manually removed through the CPWC (third node soybean stage; V3), and c) weeds manually removed until soybean canopy closure (weed-free). Overall, total annual cover crop biomass during the second field season was comparable to biomass obtained from direct seeded stands during the initial field season. All cover crop treatments reduced total weed biomass through the CPWC compared to conventional till. Soybean yield was low across all treatments in this experiment. Still, yield was similar between cover crop and conventional till treatments at one site-year, however, yields were lower in all cover crop treatments at the other site-year.
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    Methane Emissions Vary by Rainfall in Wetland and are Mediated by Vegetation
    (2024-03-13) Kesey, Chloe; Palmer, Margaret; Sharp, Sean
    Investigating the effects of rainfall on methane emissions within wetlands, and the effect of the presence of vegetation. We measured methane flux using floating chambers with 3 replicates in two patches: Open Water (OPW) and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV), before and after storm events. Dissolved methane concentration was also investigated using Rhizons at two different depths (Shallow and Deep) with 3 replicates in OPW and SAV patches. We observed a trend that methane flux decreased after storms in the SAV patch, with an average difference of -114.18 ± 89.88 mg/m2/hr before and after, but the OPW patch’s mean and variance highly overlapped, seeming negligent with a mean difference of -4.28 ± 15.69 mg/m2/hr. For the dissolved methane, we found that the SAV patches generally increased in dissolved methane concentration, the Shallow depth average difference of 0.41 ± 0.23 𝛍mol/l before and after, while the deep had 41.34 ± 36.84 𝛍mol/l before and after. The dissolved methane in the OPW patches also highly overlapped, seeming negligent with a Shallow depth average difference of -0.45 ± 0.31 𝛍mol/l, and a Deep depth average difference of -4.89 ± 17.01 𝛍mol/l. A potential explanation for the negligent results from the OPW patch could be due to its fast methane recharge rate. While in the SAV patch, diffusive transport and pressurized gas flow can occur, releasing methane in the upper part of the water column. Increased photosynthesis after storm events could also lead to increased gas transport through plant tissue. This study shows that storm events can have important effects on wetland methane flux and complex interactions with vegetation.
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    The Effect of Barley Cover Crop Residue and Herbicide Management on the Foliar Arthropod Community in No-Till Soybeans
    (MDPI, 2018-06-01) Rosario-Lebron, Armando; Leslie, Alan W.; Chen, Guihua; Hooks, Cerruti R. R.
    Cover cropping has long been used as a method of reducing soil erosion, increasing soil quality, and suppressing weeds. However, the effects of cover crops in local farming systems are varied and can be affected by timing and method of termination. Field experiments were conducted at two sites in Maryland, USA during the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons to examine how varying the date and method of terminating a barley (Hordeum vulgare) cover crop affects the arthropod communities in succeeding no-till soybean (Glycine max). Experimental treatments included early-kill with pre- and post-emergent herbicides (EK), late-kill with pre- and post-emergent herbicides (LK), late-kill with a flail mower and pre-emergent herbicide (FM), and a fallow/bare-ground check with pre- and post-emergent herbicides (BG). Terminating barley late, just prior to soybean planting, resulted in significantly greater biomass accumulation in LK and FM than EK. However, method and timing of termination had no effect on the community of pest and beneficial arthropods in the soybean canopy. Results from this experiment suggest that terminating the cover crop early or late (just prior to crop planting) or using a mower or post-emergent herbicide will result in a similar community of arthropods within the soybean canopy.
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    Should I Eat or Should I Go? Acridid Grasshoppers and Their Novel Host Plants: Potential for Biotic Resistance
    (MDPI, 2018-10-07) Avaneysan, Alina
    Novel, non-coevolved associations between introduced plants and native insect herbivores may lead to changes in trophic interactions in native communities, as well as to substantial economic problems. Although some studies in invasion ecology demonstrated that native herbivores can preferentially feed on introduced plants and therefore contribute to the biotic resistance of native communities to plant invasions, the role of acridid grasshoppers as native generalist insect herbivores is largely overlooked. This systematic review aimed to identify patterns of grasshopper feeding preferences for native versus introduced plants and, consequently, a potential of grasshoppers to provide biotic resistance of native communities. The analysis of 63 records of feeding preference trials for 28 North-American grasshopper species (retrieved from 2146 studies published during 1967–2017) has demonstrated a preference of grasshoppers for introduced host plants, and identified 12 preferred introduced plants with high or middle invasive ranks. A significant effect of the life stage (p < 0.001), but not the experimental environment, plant material, and measurements, on grasshopper preferences for introduced plants was also detected. Overall, results suggest a potential of acridid grasshoppers to contribute to the biotic resistance of native communities. The review also provides methodological recommendations for future experimental studies on grasshopper-host plant interactions.
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    Use of Molecular Gut Content Analysis to Decipher the Range of Food Plants of the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula
    (MDPI, 2020-04-01) Avanesyan, Alina; Lamp, William O.
    Spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), is an introduced highly invasive insect pest in the US that poses a significant risk to forestry and agriculture. Assessing and predicting plant usage of the lanternfly has been challenging, and little is known regarding the lanternfly nymph association with its host plants. In this study, we focused on: (a) providing a protocol for using molecular markers for food plant identification of L. delicatula; (b) determining whether the ingested plant DNA corresponds with DNA of the plants from which the lanternfly was collected; and, (c) investigating the spectrum of ingested plants. We utilized gut contents of third and fourth instar nymphs that were collected from multiple plants; we isolated ingested plant DNA and identified consumed plants. We demonstrated that (a) up to 534 bp of the rbcL gene from ingested plants can be detected in L. delicatula guts, (b) ingested plants in ~93% of the nymphs did not correspond with the plants from which the nymphs were collected, and (c) both introduced and native plants, as well as woody and non-woody plants, were ingested. This information will aid effective the monitoring and management of the lanternfly, as well as predict the lanternfly host plants with range expansion.
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    Comparative Efficacy of Common Active Ingredients in Organic Insecticides Against Difficult to Control Insect Pests
    (MDPI, 2020-09-08) Dively, Galen P.; Patton, Terrence; Barranco, Lindsay; Kulhanek, Kelly
    There exists a lack of control efficacy information to enable decision-making about which organic insecticide product works best for a given insect pest. Here, we summarize results of 153 field trials on the control efficacy of common active ingredients in organic insecticides against 12 groups of the most difficult to control insect pests. These trials evaluated primarily the organic products Entrust (spinosad), Azera (pyrethrin and azadirachtin), PyGanic (pyrethrin) and Neemix (azadirachtin), which reduced pest infestations by an overall 73.9%, 61.7%, 48.6% and 46.1% respectively, averaged across all trials. Entrust was the most effective control option for many insect pests, particularly providing >75% control of flea beetles, Colorado potato beetle, cabbageworms and alfalfa weevil, but was relatively ineffective against true bugs and aphids. Azera provided >75% control of green peach aphid, flea beetles, Japanese beetle, Mexican bean beetle, potato leafhopper and cabbageworms. PyGanic was less effective than Entrust and Azera but still provided >75% control of green peach aphid, flea beetles and potato leafhopper. The growth inhibition effects of azadirachtin in Neemix were particularly effective against larvae of Mexican bean beetle and Colorado potato beetle but was generally less effective in trials with insect infestations consisting mainly of adult stages. Those insect pests that were particularly difficult to control included thrips, stinkbugs, cucumber beetles and fruitworms. Several caveats pertaining to the application of the results are discussed.
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    Cultural Control of Drosophila suzukii in Small Fruit—Current and Pending Tactics in the U.S.
    (MDPI, 2021-02-17) Schöneberg, Torsten; Lewis, Margaret T.; Burrack, Hannah J.; Grieshop, Matthew; Isaacs, Rufus; Rendon, Dalila; Rogers, Mary; Rothwell, Nikki; Sial, Ashfaq A.; Walton, Vaughn M.; Hamby, Kelly A.
    Spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae), a vinegar fly of Asian origin, has emerged as a devastating pest of small and stone fruits throughout the United States. Tolerance for larvae is extremely low in fresh market fruit, and management is primarily achieved through repeated applications of broad-spectrum insecticides. These applications are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable, and can limit markets due to insecticide residue restrictions, cause outbreaks of secondary pests, and select for insecticide resistance. Sustainable integrated pest management programs include cultural control tactics and various nonchemical approaches for reducing pest populations that may be useful for managing D. suzukii. This review describes the current state of knowledge and implementation for different cultural controls including preventative tactics such as crop selection and exclusion as well as strategies to reduce habitat favorability (pruning; mulching; irrigation), alter resource availability (harvest frequency; sanitation), and lower suitability of fruit postharvest (cooling; irradiation). Because climate, horticultural practices, crop, and market underlie the efficacy, feasibility, and affordability of cultural control tactics, the potential of these tactics for D. suzukii management is discussed across different production systems.
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    Differential Gene Expression in the Heads of Behaviorally Divergent Culex pipiens Mosquitoes
    (MDPI, 2021-03-23) Noreuil, Anna; Fritz, Megan L.
    Host preferences of Cx. pipiens, a bridge vector for West Nile virus to humans, have the potential to drive pathogen transmission dynamics. Yet much remains unknown about the extent of variation in these preferences and their molecular basis. We conducted host choice assays in a laboratory setting to quantify multi-day human and avian landing rates for Cx. pipiens females. Assayed populations originated from five above-ground and three below-ground breeding and overwintering habitats. All three below-ground populations were biased toward human landings, with rates of human landing ranging from 69–85%. Of the five above-ground populations, four had avian landing rates of >80%, while one landed on the avian host only 44% of the time. Overall response rates and willingness to alternate landing on the human and avian hosts across multiple days of testing also varied by population. For one human- and one avian-preferring population, we examined patterns of differential expression and splice site variation at genes expressed in female heads. We also compared gene expression and splice site variation within human-seeking females in either gravid or host-seeking physiological states to identify genes that may regulate blood feeding behaviors. Overall, we identified genes with metabolic and regulatory function that were differentially expressed in our comparison of gravid and host-seeking females. Differentially expressed genes in our comparison of avian- and human-seeking females were enriched for those involved in sensory perception. We conclude with a discussion of specific sensory genes and their potential influence on the divergent behaviors of avian- and human-seeking Cx. pipiens.
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    Response of Five Miscanthus sinensis Cultivars to Grasshopper Herbivory: Implications for Monitoring of Invasive Grasses in Protected Areas
    (MDPI, 2021-12-25) Avanesyan, Alina; Lamp, William O.
    Introduced grasses can aggressively expand their range and invade native habitats, including protected areas. Miscanthus sinensis is an introduced ornamental grass with 100+ cultivars of various invasive potential. Previous studies have demonstrated that the invasive potential of M. sinensis cultivars may be linked to seed viability, and some of the physiological traits, such as growth rate. Little is known, however, about whether these traits are associated with response of M. sinensis to insect herbivory, and whether plant tolerance and resistance to herbivory vary among its cultivars; which, in turn, can contribute to the invasive potential of some of M. sinensis cultivars. To address this issue, in our study we explored the response of five cultivars of M. sinensis to herbivory by Melanoplus grasshoppers. We demonstrated that plant responses varied among the cultivars during a season; all the cultivars, but “Zebrinus”, demonstrated a significant increase in plant tolerance by the end of the growing season regardless of the amount of sustained leaf damage. Different patterns in plant responses from “solid green” and “striped/spotted” varieties were recorded, with the lowest plant resistance detected for “Autumn Anthem” in the cage experiment. Our results have important applications for monitoring low-risk invaders in protected areas, as well as for biotic resistance of native communities to invasive grasses.
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    An Evaluation of Cultural and Chemical Control Practices to Reduce Slug Damage in No-till Corn
    (MDPI, 2022-03-11) Dively, Galen P.; Patton, Terrence
    Slugs, primarily the gray garden slug, Deroceras reticulatum (Müller), are the most damaging non-arthropod pest of corn grown in conservation tillage systems in the US. These mollusks favor decaying plant residue on the soil surface, which provides food, shelter and optimum microenvironmental conditions for their development and survival. Here, field plot experiments evaluated several cultural and chemical control practices to suppress slug activity and feeding injury during early seedling growth. The use of row cleaners to remove surface residue over the seed row and starter fertilizer applied different ways during planting significantly reduced the percentage and severity of plants damaged by slugs by negatively affecting their activity around emerging seedlings and providing more favorable conditions for plants to outgrow and tolerate feeding injury. As rescue treatments, reduced rates of a 4% molluscicide bait applied as a directed band over the seed row, and broadcasted solutions of urea-based nitrogen applied under calm winds at night provided effective slug control. Practical considerations of these treatments are discussed, as well as changes in weather patterns and current planting practices that have had contrasting effects on slug populations and their potential damage.
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    Diverse Host Plants of the First Instars of the Invasive Lycorma delicatula: Insights from eDNA Metabarcoding
    (MDPI, 2022-06-10) McPherson, Cameron; Avanesyan, Alina; Lamp, William O.
    Identification of host plants of the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), has been the focus of many studies. While the adults and late nymphs are relatively easy to observe on plants and to use for molecular gut-content analysis, studying the early instars is more challenging. This study is the continuation of our ongoing efforts to determine the host range for each developmental stage of L. delicatula. In the present study, we focused exclusively on the first nymphal instars, and we used a novel approach, utilizing “bulk” DNA extracts for DNA metabarcoding of nymphal gut contents, to identify all the detectable plants that the nymphs had ingested prior to being collected. We were able to obtain high-quality amplicons (up to 406 bp) of a portion of the rbcL gene and detect 27 unique ingested plant species belonging to 17 families. Both native and introduced plants with the prevalence of trees and grasses were present among the ingested plants. We also identified 13 novel host plants that have not been previously reported for L. delicatula on the U.S. territory. The results from our study have important applications for developing effective programs on early monitoring of invasive L. delicatula.
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    Analysis of Plant Trait Data of Host Plants of Lycorma delicatula in the US Suggests Evidence for Ecological Fitting
    (MDPI, 2022-11-29) Avanesyan, Alina; McPherson, Cameron; Lamp, William O.
    Plant traits, used by the invasive insect herbivores to find and select suitable hosts, can play an important role in insect host range expansion. With regard to invasive Lycorma delicatula, it is not well explored, however, how the plant origin affects insect host selection, and whether native and introduced host plants differ in their morphology, lifespan, as well as environmental requirements for growth. We addressed this issue in our study through the comprehensive assessment of 25 relevant plant traits (a total of 27,601 records retrieved from the TRY database), as well as the origin and phylogenetic relationships of 37 host plants of L. delicatula in the U.S. Our results showed that only leaf area, leaf chlorophyll content, and canopy size were significantly greater in the introduced hosts than that in native plants. We did not detect a significant effect of the plant origin on other characteristics. Additionally, no significant differences between native and introduced hosts of L. delicatula in genetic distances from introduced Ailanthus altissima (the most preferred host) were detected. These results, for the first time, suggest strong evidence for ecological fitting which might drive the host plant selection of L. delicatula and its rapid spread in the U.S.
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    Impact of Post-Harvest Management Practices in Corn (Zea mays L.) Fields on Arthropods in Subsequent Soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) Plantings
    (MDPI, 2023-01-15) Leslie, Alan W.; McCluen, Scott R.; Hooks, Cerruti, R. R.
    There is increased adoption of cover cropping and conservation tillage in the USA. Many farmers view these practices as methods for improving their soils. However, different cover cropping and tillage practices conducted post-harvest can have a disparate impact on arthropods within the subsequent cash crop. Field experiments were conducted during 2017 and 2018 at two experimental sites to examine the influences of different post-harvest practices following corn (Zea mays L.) harvest on pests and beneficials in subsequent soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] plantings. Experimental treatments included: (1) tillage via chisel plow (CP), (2) no-tillage in which corn residue/stubble remained on the soil surface (CS), and (3) planting a cover crop into corn residue (CC) following corn harvest. Overall, insect herbivore abundance was greater in the CP treatment. Foliar predator numbers were similar among treatments or of greater abundance in CP. The activity density of epigeal insect predators varied according to site and feeding guild. However, spider activity density was greatest in CP. Stink bug egg mortality due to predation and parasitism varied among treatments. However, the percentage of stink bug eggs that hatched was greatest in the CC during both years. Findings suggest that post-harvest practices investigated during this study will have a similar influence on most epigeal and foliar arthropods in soybean.
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    Positive tree diversity effects on arboreal spider abundance are tied to canopy cover in a forest experiment
    (Wiley, 2023-06-01) Butz, Elizabeth M.; Schmitt, Lauren M.; Parker, John D.; Burghardt, Karin T.
    Human actions are decreasing the diversity and complexity of forests, and a mechanistic understanding of how these changes affect predators is needed to maintain ecosystem services, including pest regulation. Using a large-scale tree diversity experiment, we investigate how spiders respond to trees growing in plots of single or mixed species combinations (4 or 12) by repeatedly sampling 540 trees spanning 15 species. In 2019 (6 years post-establishment), spider responses to tree diversity varied by tree species. By 2021, diversity had a more consistently positive effect, with trees in 4- or 12-species plots supporting 23% or 50% more spiders, respectively, compared to conspecifics in monocultures. Spiders showed stronger tree species preferences in late summer, and the positive impact of plot diversity doubled. In early summer, the positive diversity effect was tied to higher canopy cover in diverse plots, leading to higher spider densities. This indirect path strengthened in late summer, with an additional direct effect of plot diversity on spiders. Prey availability was higher in diverse plots but was not tied to spider density. Overall, diverse plots supported more predators, partly by increasing available habitat. Adopting planting strategies focused on species mixtures may better maintain higher trophic levels and ecosystem functions.
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    Spatiotemporal organization of cryptic North American Culex species along an urbanization gradient
    (Wiley, 2023-10-03) Arsenault-Benoit, Arielle; Fritz, Megan L.
    Landscape heterogeneity creates diverse habitat and resources for mosquito vectors of disease. A consequence may be varied distribution and abundance of vector species over space and time dependent on niche requirements. We tested the hypothesis that landscape heterogeneity driven by urbanization influences the distribution and relative abundance of Culex pipiens, Cx. restuans and Cx. quinquefasciatus, three vectors of West Nile virus (WNv) in the eastern North American landscape. We collected 9803 cryptic Culex from urban, suburban and rural sites in metropolitan Washington, District of Columbia, during the months of June–October, 2019–2021. In 2021, we also collected mosquitoes in April and May to measure early season abundance and distribution. Molecular techniques were used to identify a subset of collected Culex to species (n = 2461). Ecological correlates of the spatiotemporal distribution of these cryptic Culex were examined using constrained and unconstrained ordination. Seasonality was not associated with Culex community composition in June–October over 3 years, but introducing April and May data revealed seasonal shifts in community composition in the final year of our study. Culex pipiens were dominant across site types, while Cx. quinquefasciatus were associated with urban environments, and Cx. restuans were associated with rural and suburban sites. All three species rarely coexisted. Our work demonstrates that human-mediated land-use changes influence the distribution and relative abundance of Culex vectors of WNv, even on fine geospatial scales. Site classification, per cent impervious surface, distance to city centre and longitude predicted Culex community composition. We documented active Culex months before vector surveillance typically commences in this region, with Culex restuans being most abundant during April and May. Active suppression of Cx. restuans in April and May could reduce early enzootic transmission, delay the seasonal spread of WNv and thereby reduce overall WNv burden. By June, the highest risk of epizootic spillover of WNv to human hosts may be in suburban areas with high human population density and mixed Culex assemblages that can transmit WNv between birds and humans. Focusing management efforts there may further reduce human disease burden.
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    Genomic regions underlying the species-specific mating songs of green lacewings
    (Wiley, 2022-10-25) Taylor, Katherine L.; Wade, Elizabeht J.; Wells, Marta M.; Henry, Charles S.
    Rapid species radiations provide insight into the process of speciation and diversification. The radiation of Chrysoperla carnea-group lacewings seems to be driven, at least in part, by their species–specific pre-mating vibrational duets. We associated genetic markers from across the genome with courtship song period in the offspring of a laboratory cross between Chrysoperla plorabunda and Chrysoperla adamsi, two species primarily differentiated by their mating songs. Two genomic regions were strongly associated with the song period phenotype. Large regions of chromosomes one and two were associated with song phenotype, as fewer recombination events occurred on these chromosomes relative to the other autosomes. Candidate genes were identified by functional annotation of proteins from the C. carnea reference genome. The majority of genes that are associated with vibrational courtship signals in other insects were found within QTL for lacewing song phenotype. Together these findings suggest that decreased recombination may be acting to keep together loci important to reproductive isolation between these species. Using wild-caught individuals from both species, we identified signals of genomic divergence across the genome. We identified several candidate genes both in song-associated regions and near divergence outliers including nonA, fruitless, paralytic, period, and doublesex. Together these findings bring us one step closer to identifying the genomic basis of a mating song trait critical to the maintenance of species boundaries in green lacewings.
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    Current street tree communities reflect race-based housing policy and modern attempts to remedy environmental injustice
    (Wiley, 2022-10-05) Burghardt, Karin T.; Avolio, Meghan L.; Locke, Dexter H.; Grove, J. Morgan; Sonti, Nancy F.; Swan, Christopher M.
    Humans promote and inhibit other species on the urban landscape, shaping biodiversity patterns. Institutional racism may underlie the distribution of urban species by creating disproportionate resources in space and time. Here, we examine whether present-day street tree occupancy, diversity, and composition in Baltimore, MD, USA, neighborhoods reflect their 1937 classification into grades of loan risk—from most desirable (A = green) to least desirable (D = “redlined”)—using racially discriminatory criteria. We find that neighborhoods that were redlined have consistently lower street tree α-diversity and are nine times less likely to have large (old) trees occupying a viable planting site. Simultaneously, redlined neighborhoods were locations of recent tree planting activities, with a high occupancy rate of small (young) trees. However, the community composition of these young trees exhibited lower species turnover and reordering across neighborhoods compared to those in higher grades, due to heavy reliance on a single tree species. Overall, while the negative effects of redlining remain detectable in present-day street tree communities, there are clear signs of recent investment. A strategy of planting diverse tree cohorts paired with investments in site rehabilitation and maintenance may be necessary if cities wish to overcome ecological feedbacks associated with legacies of environmental injustice.
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    Insectivorous birds reduce herbivory but do not increasemangrove growth across productivity zones
    (Wiley, 2022-05-24) Forde, Alexander J.; Feller, Ilka C.; Parker, John D.; Gruner, Daniel S.
    Top-down effects of predators and bottom-up effects of resources are important drivers of community structure and function in a wide array of ecosystems. Fertilization experiments impose variation in resource availability that can mediate the strength of predator impacts, but the prevalence of such interactions across natural productivity gradients is less clear. We studied the joint impacts of top-down and bottom-up factors in a tropical mangrove forest system, leveraging fine-grained patchiness in resource availability and primary productivity on coastal cays of Belize. We excluded birds from canopies of red mangrove (Rhizophoraceae: Rhizophora mangle) for 13 months in zones of phosphorus-limited, stunted dwarf mangroves, and in adjacent zones of vigorous mangroves that receive detrital subsidies. Birds decreased total arthropod densities by 62%, herbivore densities more than fivefold, and reduced rates of leaf and bud herbivory by 45% and 52%, respectively. Despite similar arthropod densities across both zones of productivity, leaf and bud damage were 2.0 and 4.3 times greater in productive stands. Detrital subsidies strongly impacted a suite of plant traits in productive stands, potentially making leaves more nutritious and vulnerable to damage. Despite consistently strong impacts on herbivory, we did not detect top-down forcing that impacted mangrove growth, which was similar with and without birds. Our results indicated that both top-down and bottom-up forces drive arthropod community dynamics, but attenuation at the plant-herbivore interface weakens top-down control by avian insectivores.