Parasitoid diversity reduces the variability in pest control services across time on farms

Macfadyen, Sarina, Craze, Paul G, Polaszek, Andrew and van Achterberg, Kees (2011) Parasitoid diversity reduces the variability in pest control services across time on farms. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278 (1723). pp. 3387-3394. ISSN 1471-2954

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Recent declines in biodiversity have increased interest in the link between biodiversity and the provision and sustainability of ecosystem services across space and time. We mapped the complex network of interactions between herbivores and parasitoids to examine the relationship between parasitoid species richness, functional group diversity and the provision of natural pest control services. Quantitative food webs were constructed for 10 organic and 10 conventional farms. Parasitoid species richness varied from 26 to 58 species and we found a significant positive relationship between parasitoid species richness and temporal stability in parasitism rates. Higher species richness was associated with lower variation in parasitism rate. A functional group analysis showed significantly greater parasitoid species complementarity on organic farms, with on average more species in each functional group. We simulated parasitoid removal to predict whether organic farms experienced greater robustness of parasitism in the face of local extinctions. This analysis showed no consistent differences between the organic and conventional farm pairs in terms of loss of pest control service. Finally, it was found that the different habitats that make up each farm do not contribute equally to parasitoid species diversity, and that hedgerows produced more parasitoid species, significantly more so on organic farms.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: functional redundancy; biological insurance; parasitoid; pest control; ecosystem services; complementarity
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biology and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Paul Craze
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2012 11:40
Last Modified: 15 May 2013 13:51
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