Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 12 November 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - Autumn 2019 
12 November - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Fancy a cup of coffee or tea and learning more about the researchers at Swansea university? Come join us at the Wallace coffee talks: an informal seminar series where students, staff and others related to Swansea university speak about their research or personal interests.

A Novel Application of Environmental DNA to Identify Historic Outbreaks of Forest Pests Within the Pacific Northwest of America
Current outbreaks of forest pests, notably Dendroctonus bark beetles, in the Pacific Northwest of America are widely regarded as unprecedented, with human induced climate change attributed as the primary driver of the increased scale and severity of these aggressive population expansions. The assumptions of historic outbreak dynamics are largely based on tree ring data, fossil pollen records, GIS and remote sensing, and the identification of well-preserved remains, however, each of these come with their own set of limitations. This talk aims to explore the effectiveness of a new detection tool - Environmental DNA (eDNA) - in directly identifying forest pest presence within sedimentary records, to reconstruct past dynamics, and determine whether these outbreaks are truly unprecedented. 

Alex Dearden (Swansea University, UK)
How semiochemicals can be used to improve the monitoring and control of the Western flower thrips
The Western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis (Peregande), are insect pests of Agriculture and Horticulture worldwide. It is estimated that WFT cause damage to over 500 marketable plant species and result in the annual loss of over £1 billion. Their small size (1-1.4 mm), cryptic nature and high fecundity pose a significant challenge to successful management of the pest. Control of WFT has mainly relied on pesticide application to the canopy regions of crops, targeting adult life stages. However, WFT have become resistant to a wide range of insecticide groups such as organophosphates, carbamates and pyrethroids. As a result, there is a growing urgency to peruse sustainable alternatives. Semiochemicals are behavioural altering substances that offer value to the monitoring and control of WFT and other insect pests. 

This short talk aims to summarise the threat posed by WFT to food and ornamentals production. Additionally, the applications and challenges of using semiochemicals within pest management will be discussed. 

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