The effects of a vegetational corridor on the abundance and dispersal of insect biodiversity within a northern California organic vineyard
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- Nicholls, C.I., Parrella, M. & Altieri, M.A. Landscape Ecology (2001) 16: 133. doi:10.1023/A:1011128222867
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During 1996 and 1997, two adjacent 2.5 has organic vineyard blocks (A and B) were monitored to assess the distributional and abundance patterns of the Western grape leafhopper Erythroneura elegantula Osborn (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) and its parasitoid Anagrus epos Girault (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae), Western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) and generalist predators. The main difference between blocks was that block A was cut across by a corridor composed of 65 flowering plant species which was connected to the surrounding riparian habitat, whereas block B had no plant corridor. In both years, leafhopper adults and nymphs and thrips tended to be more numerous in the middle rows of block A and less abundant in border rows close to the forest and corridor where predators were more abundant. The complex of predators circulating through the corridor moved to the adjacent vine rows and exerted a regulatory impact on herbivores present in such rows. In block B all insects were evenly distributed over the field, no obvious density gradient was detected from the edges into the center of the field. Although it is suspected that A. epos depended on food resources of the corridor, it did not display a gradient from this rich flowering area into the middle of the field. Likewise no differences in rates of egg parasitism of leafhoppers could be detected in vines near the corridor or in the vineyard center. The presence of riparian habitats enhanced predator colonization and abundance on adjacent vineyards, although this influence was limited by the distance to which natural enemies dispersed into the vineyard. However, the corridor amplified this influence by enhancing timely circulation and dispersal movement of predators into the center of the field.