Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.634099
Title: The effect of drought stress on the green spruce aphid
Author: Banfield-Zanin, Jennifer A.
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
The green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is the most important defoliating pest of Sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr., in the U.K. Currently, populations of this aphid are limited by freezing periods in the winter, while interactions between climate and other factors regulate population dynamics. Climate change in the U.K. is predicted to result in: (1) warmer winters, improving overwinter survival by aphid populations, and (2) an increase in hot and dry summers, likely to place Sitka spruce under drought stress. These could promote aphid densities and increased damage to the trees, resulting in losses to plant growth and productivity. Few studies have been conducted on the effect of drought stress on arboreal herbivores. This project sought to explore the effects of different intensities of spring-summer drought stress on E. abietinum on Sitka spruce. Populations and their effects on their host plant, in terms of needle retention and impact on tree growth, were observed in a semi-field nursery setting. The performance of individual aphids was also observed under controlled conditions at intervals following bud-burst in spring, and again in autumn. Finally, a study was conducted on the consumption rates of specialist and generalist Coccinellid predators feeding on aphids reared under differing drought intensities. Elatobium abietinum exhibited an overall positive response to moderate intermittent drought stress, while severe stress was typically detrimental. When considered with aphid size, Coccinellid predator consumption rates reflected these findings. Changes to damage levels on Sitka spruce can therefore be expected under drought stress; increases are likely under moderate intermittent stress, though the nature of changes under severe stress levels remain unclear. The results revealed complex interactions between drought stress, E. abietinum and Sitka spruce. Given the potential impact of the aphid, it is important to understand the possible responses under climate change.
Supervisor: Leather, Simon R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.634099  DOI: Not available
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