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Ecological Genetics of the Predatory Lady Beetle Hippodamia convergens: Effects of Augmentative Releases
Department of Entomology
Human assisted movement and release of insect parasitoids and predatory insects for the suppression of insect pests represents one of the major practices of biological control. All insect pest management tactics have associated risks and may affect non-target organisms and/or the environment. The potential non-target effects of importation biological control, which attempts to establish natural enemy populations to reduce introduced insect pests, have received considerable attention.
In contrast, relatively few studies have focused on the potential non-target effects of augmentative releases, in which repeated releases of a natural enemy are made without the expectation of permanent establishment in the environment. The application of modern molecular techniques can address these non-target questions by providing insights into the population genetics of natural enemies and the genetic bases for successful biological control projects. This sabbatical proposal addresses the potential effects of augmentative releases of the predatory lady beetle (Hippodamia convergens) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) from California on the genetics of local (Iowa) populations of this beetle.