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Title: The role of associated bacteria in explaining adaptation by the vine weevil Otiorhynchussulcatus (Fabricius) to different environments
Author: Morera-Margarit, Pilar
ISNI:       0000 0005 0287 1915
Awarding Body: Harper Adams University
Current Institution: Harper Adams University
Date of Award: 2020
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The vine weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus (Fabricius) is a curculionid pest endemic to central Europe which has successfully invaded regions on nearly all continents. This weevil species is characterised by an ability to feed on a broad range of plant species, several of which are grown as horticultural crops. Research investigating the distinctiveness of insects inhabiting separate geographic areas or infesting different crop species is still scant. Genetically, vine weevils from different locations have been shown to display limited genomic differences. The research presented here further investigated if features other than insect genetic variation are distinct amongst vine weevil populations found at different locations. The bacterial community of adult vine weevils from different populations found at geographically distinct locations within the UK but from the same host plant species was characterised. Additionally, some of these populations were tested for variation in susceptibility to a fungal pathogen commonly included in control strategies targeting this pest, Metarhizium brunneum (Petch). Oviposition choice was also examined on these insects between two host plant species susceptible to vine weevil infestation, strawberry and raspberry. Additionally, the fluctuation in titre of the bacterium Candidatus Nardonella during vine weevil development was assessed. This prokaryote was shown to dominate the bacterial community of the vine weevil and so we aimed at identifying important functions for its host. Insect population source per se did not shape the bacterial microbiota or influence the insect fitness parameters measured. Ca. Nardonella abundance followed a pattern which may indicate its involvement in tyrosine metabolism and cuticle formation. Future research should investigate vine weevils from a wider selection of geographic locations including non-crop environments to complete this line of research. Additionally, the influence of the host plant species on the distinctiveness of vine weevil populations should also be tested. Ca. Nardonella has been shown to play important roles for other weevils. Hence, the function of this bacterium for the vine weevil deserves further attention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available