Source: UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
May 1, 2011
Project End Date
Oct 31, 2012
Grant Year
Project Director
Obrycki, J. J.
Recipient Organization
LEXINGTON,KY 40526-0001
Performing Department
Non Technical Summary
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.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
The specific objectives of this proposal are to identify specific population markers for California populations of H. convergens using molecular genotyping techniques. Based on these markers, we will determine if introgression of California genes has occurred in an eastern North American population (Iowa) of H. convergens. The goal of this mini-sabbatical for John Obrycki is to learn selected molecular genotyping techniques used in Dr. Fred J. Janzen's laboratory in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University.
Project Methods
California Hippodamia convergens will be purchased from insectaries that collect and sell these adults; Iowa beetles will be collected locally from alfalfa fields within 30 km of Ames, IA. Standard rearing techniques will be used to produce F1 individuals from each population that will be crossed in the laboratory. The procedures for the genotyping of these H. convergens populations will follow procedures developed in Fred Janzen's laboratory at Iowa State University. Genomic DNA from each population will be extracted and amplified using PCR kits based on the microsatellite loci developed by Dr. Andy Michel (Ohio State University). PCR products will be sent to the DNA Sequencing and Synthesis Facility at Iowa State University for sequencing. Data files from the sequencer will be analyzed using GeneScan and Genotyper.

Progress 05/01/11 to 10/31/12

OUTPUTS: Collections of overwintering adult H. convergens from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California for augmentative releases have been conducted for over a century. Many augmentative releases have targeted pest species in California agricultural systems. But for at least the past 50 years, field collected H. convergens from California have been sold and released east of the Rocky Mountains. Do beetles from California mate with local populations causing potential deleterious effects on eastern populations of H. convergens Previuosly we have documented that there are no reproductive barriers between H. convergens from California and Iowa. Do eastern and western populations of H. convergens in North America show genetic differences that might be related to adaptations to local environmental conditions These genetic questions related to potential inter-population differences among North American populations of H. convergens and the effects of augmentative releases of California beetles are the focus of this proposal. I spent a three month sabbatical leave (May 1, 2011 to July 31, 2011) in the laboratory of Dr. Fred Janzen, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University. During these 3 months, I conducted a project that examined the ecological genetics of the predatory lady beetle species Hippodamia convergens, a widely distributed species in North America. This predatory species is collected from overwintering sites in California and commercially sold for augmentative releases throughout the United States. One concern that has been raised about this human movement of H. convergens from California is the effect on local populations of H. convergens. The ultimate goal of this project is to determine if there is introgression of California genes into local H. convergens populations. PARTICIPANTS: During this three month sabbatical leave (May 1, 2011 to July 31, 2011), I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Fred Janzen, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University. One of Dr. Janzen's PhD students (Mr Arun Sethuraman) trained me in laboratory methods of DNA extraction and PCR. Mr. Sethuraman learned a great deal about lady beetle biology and ecology during my sabbatical leave. This leave has initiated a cooperative project on lady beetle genetics with Dr. Janzen at Iowa State University. TARGET AUDIENCES: This project provides preliminary data on differences between western and eastern North American populations of Hippodamia convergens. Target audiences include individuals interested in the conservation of native predatory lady beetles. Individuals in the eastern US who purchase Hippodamia convergens from California would become aware of the potential differences between naturally occurring individuals and those purchased from California. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

During this three-month sabbatical leave, I extracted DNA from 4-8 adults from each of 8 populations of H. convergens (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, 2 locations in Kansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma). Using 10 microsatellite primers developed by a colleague at Ohio State University and PCR techniques, each individual beetle was genotyped at the Iowa State University DNA facility. Sixty-five individuals have been genotyped using these microsatellite markers. Preliminary analyses indicate that the Midwestern populations share many genetic similarities, but no unique markers for the California populations have been discovered. Additional samples are being examined to complete the analysis of the population structure of H. convergens.


  • No publications reported this period