Ecological Pest Management
Dr. Juli Carrillo, Assistant Professor, Plant-Insect Ecology Evolution Lab, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Plant-Insect Ecology Evolution Lab (PI)
Chelsea Gowton, MSc. Candidate, Faculty of Land and Food Systems (Lead Researcher)
About the Project
Dr. Juli Carrillo’s lab ‘Plant-Insect Ecology & Evolution’ focuses on plant defence against herbivory. Currently, Carrillo’s lab has a project at the UBC Farm involving intercropping, lead by Chelsea Gowton. The project involves Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) as an invasive fruit fly. SWD can have a huge economic impact on global small fruit production. Organic farmers, such as the UBC Farm, have few tools to help combat agricultural losses due to SWD. The lab’s goal is to evaluate ecological pest management strategies that utilize natural processes to help reduce the impact of SWD. Mint essential oil has shown to repel SWD in a laboratory setting. The lab is using mint as an intercrop between blueberries at the UBC Farm. The lab hypothesizes that the volatile organic compounds of the fresh mint will help mask SWD’s ability to locate the blueberries that are ripening in the field, thus resulting in fewer crop losses to SWD. The harsh 2016-2017 winter decreased natural SWD populations, a positive for the growing industry during the 2017 season. However, this but did not provide any results for the research! This year SWD numbers are higher, which will hopefully put the established peppermint intercrop to the test!
External Links and Publications
Banner Photo credit: Martin Dee (demonstrating the SWD larvae in blackberries at the UBC Farm)