Multi-scale effects of landscape complexity and crop management on pollen beetle parasitism rate
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Improving our understanding about how natural enemies respond to semi-natural habitats and crop management scattered in the landscape may contribute to the development of ecologically based pest management strategies maximising biological control services. We investigated how soil tillage and semi-natural habitats influenced the parasitism rates of pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus F.) larvae at 8 different spatial scales (from 250 to 2000 m radius circular sectors) in 42 oilseed rape (OSR) fields. We used multimodel inference approaches to identify and rank the influence of soil tillage and semi-natural habitats on parasitism rates, and to quantify the importance of each scale. Parasitism rates were due to three univoltine parasitoid species (Tersilochus heterocerus, Phradis morionellus and P. interstitialis) and varied from 0 to 98%. We found that both fine and large scales contributed to explain significantly parasitism rates, indicating that biological control of pollen beetle is a multi-scale process. At the 250 m scale, parasitism rates of T. heterocerus were positively related to the proportion of semi-natural habitats and the proximity to previous year OSR fields. At large scales (1500 to 2000 m), parasitism rates of T. heterocerus were positively related to semi-natural habitats and negatively related to the proportion of previous year OSR fields with conventional soil tillage. Parasitism rates of Phradis spp. were only positively related to the proportion of semi-natural habitats at the 1250 and 1500 m scales. These multi-scale effects are discussed in relation to the influence of semi-natural habitats and soil tillage on parasitoid populations and their movement behaviours within the landscape.
KeywordsMeligethes aeneus Biological control Parasitoid Spatial scale Landscape Pest management Multimodel inference Movement behaviour Soil tillage
We would like to thank the participating farmers for their interest in the project, A. Butier, G. Grandeau, C. Robert, D. Siou and G. Lajarrige for their technical assistance, and A. Gauffreteau and D. Makowski for statistical advice. We thank two anonymous reviewers and Oliver Schweiger for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. We also thank Christer Nilsson for his precious help and knowledge about parasitoids biology and ecology and Donald White for helpful editorial advice in English.
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