Source: CORNELL UNIVERSITY submitted to
BELOWGROUND CHEMICAL ECOLOGY AND INTERACTIONS OF STRAWBERRY ROOT PESTS AND BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0229617
Grant No.
2012-67012-19821
Project No.
NYW-2012-01283
Proposal No.
2012-01283
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
A7201
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2012
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2014
Grant Year
2012
Project Director
Ali, J.
Recipient Organization
CORNELL UNIVERSITY
(N/A)
ITHACA,NY 14853
Performing Department
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Non Technical Summary
I will test the hypothesis that different belowground herbivores induce specific plant responses in strawberry, and test the impact of these responses on native and introduced entomopathogenic organisms. This study's goals are to provide strawberry (Fragaria spp.) growers with new tools for: a) improved monitoring of cryptic root- feeding pests, b) increased efficacy of insect parasitic nematodes as a biological control tactic c) employing information on plant traits to study the functional role of diverse root characteristics associated with belowground environment. This work will contribute to future belowground pest management programs in strawberry and other agroecosystems. Living amongst a complex ecological foodweb, roots are often heavily attacked by herbivores and pathogens, yet there are significant gaps in our knowledge of belowground environments both from an agronomic and ecological perspective. Understanding complex belowground interactions could provide a model for monitoring soil disturbances while optimizing ecological scenarios to favor biological control. Traditionally, such interactions are studied one-by-one, and there is a need for a multidisciplinary approach to study such relationships. This study will evaluate belowground induced plant signals, the occurrence and life history characteristics of natural belowground populations, and the impact on the control of root pests. With techniques based on quantitative real-time PCR I will evaluate how herbivore induced plant chemistry alters the community dynamics of surrounding soil biota. This study will also determine if plants infested with Strawberry Root weevils, Black vine Weevil, and Rough strawberry weevil secrete recruitment chemicals attractive to entomopathogenic nematodes.
Animal Health Component
(N/A)
Research Effort Categories
Basic
50%
Applied
50%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2061122107010%
2063110112010%
2063110113010%
2111122107010%
2111122112010%
2111122200010%
2121122200010%
2151122113010%
2151122200010%
2161122200010%
Goals / Objectives
A.Training-through-research: During the project, new techniques, methodologies and basic and applied knowledge will be garnered towards an interdisciplinary approach: Molecular Biology: design of species-specific primers and probes, real time qPCR, sequencing methods of specific areas of the genomes of nematodes, fungi and bacteria for selecting areas with high variability as a way to characterize underground food webs. Volatile Collection: coordination and development of novel in situ volatile sampling surveys in both field and laboratory conditions for improving the sampling and resolution of root responses to herbivory. Integration of various techniques of volatile collection including but not limited to SPME and Dynamic flow-through trapping systems. B. Scientific skills: Workshops, courses, & conferences: I will attend and participate in the Annual California Nematology Workshop. I will also attend the International C. elegans Meeting, an opportunity to learn advanced techniques in the study and genetics of nematodes. The most important function of such conferences is to provide a forum for presenting cutting-edge research. It will also be important for me to continue to present at meetings such as the International Society of Chemical Ecology, Entomological Society of America, and Ecological Society of America. C. Outreach and mentoring: During my proposed research I will closely align myself with the Cornell Office of Minority Programs. Ecology and Entomology are particularly interesting as scientific disciplines, in that few students of non-western European dissent (not only traditionally underrepresented groups) go on to graduate studies. I want to assist in any activities which serve as a platform for minority students to exchange scientific knowledge and experiences, learn about the process of applying to graduate school and conducting graduate research, and present their findings to peers and faculty. Being a minority student and financially disadvantaged myself, I recognize the advantages of such opportunities. I was a member of the McNair Scholar program, a TRIO program funded by the Department of Education, designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies. I plan to facilitate such interactions by supporting students as undergraduate research assistants and participating in Cornell's Biology Scholars Program, consisting of students who come from economic, gender, geographic, ethnic, or cultural groups historically underrepresented in the fields of biology.
Project Methods
1st Step: Evaluation of strawberry induced responses to damage treatments under laboratory conditions: i. non-damaged controls, ii. damage by root herbivory, iii. damage by foliar herbivory, iv. application of hormonal elicitors. 2nd Step: Measure the specific consequences of plant herbivore interactions on organisms in the rhyzosphere using quantitative PCR under field conditions: introduction of weevil larvae from three Otiorhynchus spp. in order to evaluate specificity of elicitation and specificity of effect. 3rd Step: Evaluate efficacy of biological control in agroecosystem that have been demonstrated to affect nematode and fungal components of the food-web: application of synthetic/and or isolated components of plants' induced defences associated with aboveground and belowground herbivory in order to manage multitrophic interactions and their impacts on pest mortality. Describing and identifying the key dynamics and components of these plant interactions will allow for the application of these inferences and tools in a larger manipulative field experiment. There is no data on how weevil herbivory under varying soil conditions influences biological control, nor its associated consequences on surround soil fauna. To examine the importance of soil type and irrigation, I will allow each herbivore species (Strawberry root weevil, Black vine Weevil, and Rough strawberry weevil) to feed on the roots of strawberry plants in a constructed mesocosm. Each mesocosm will consist of a semi-porous (which nematode can penetrate) 75-L tree bag that will be placed in a strawberry field. The mesocosms will be filled with an either a 1:1, 2:1, or 1:2 volume (52 L) of a mixture of local loamy soil to sand. Four seedlings per mesocosm. There will be 10 mescosm replicates for each weevil species and non-weevil control in each soil type. This design will be replicated with either high, moderate, and low irrigation. This design allows for natural populations of microfauna to enter or leave the rhizosphere, while the root herbivores will be confined to each bag. This experiment will involve (4 herbivore treatments 3 irrigation levels X 3 soil compositions) X 10 replicates = 360 plantings. By quantifying soil moisture, volatile induction, nematode, bacteria, fungi, and induced plant defenses, we can evaluate the contribution of each factor to plant susceptibility, ultimately identifying dynamics key to increasing weevil mortality and plant performance. Experiments will be conducted in greenhouses or in the field. In all cases, individually growing plants will be considered the unit of replication and I intend to have a minimum of 10 replicate plants per treatment in all experiments. For each of the steps outlined above, I envision repeating each experiment at least twice. Statistical analyses will be conducted using Analysis of Variance, correlations, and some more sophisticated multivariate techniques. In particular, I anticipate using MANOVA as well as structural equation modeling (path analysis) to study the linkages between plant traits, the changes under different conditions, and the ultimate impact on the pest community.

Progress 09/01/12 to 08/31/14

Outputs
Target Audience: Nothing Reported Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? This fellowship helped me to achieve my ultimate goal, becoming a tenure-track professor at a land grant institution. With the support from this fellowship I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity to collaborate with such great researchers at meetings and during my research at Cornell unversity. All of this fostered my career in a manner which made me more apparent and prepared for a role as a professor. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Meetings/ Invited Presentations and seminars at University's (Purdue, UC-Davis, Rutgers)/ Publications, Book chapters, and Invited review papers all of which will be published mid to late 2015. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? We were able to screen 13 varieties of strawberry both in the laboratory and in the field, to look for plant volatiles that would attract beneficial nematodes to kill root herbivores or defenses that might affect root herbivores. We found 3 varieties with interesting traits associated with root herbivory and plant defense. We found that many varieties did not release volatiles attractive to nematode however 3 did increase root volatiles in a manner which increased attraction of beneficial nematodes. We also found that some varieties respond to stressors by increasing root growth, thus becoming less susceptible to the root herbivore. We designed modified volatile collection system which gave us the ability to sample root volatiles in the field. We also designed glass chambers which allowed us to sample root volatiles in the laboratory. I was invited to several meetings. I was asked to be a section leader at the Gordon research Conference on Plant volatiles. Here I was asked to mentor young graduate students and provide guidance and lead discussion on plant volatiles in agriculture. I will lead a number of Symposia on Nematode Chemical Ecology at the upcoming Society for nematologists meeting. We recruited undergraduate students from work-study programs, all of whom where women and first generation college students. Efforts continued to recruit disadvantaged students to work on this project. Now at my current position as a professor, I've been recruiting underrepresented workers and graduate students. I look forward to continue such efforts.

Publications

  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Root zone chemical ecology: Semiochemically mediated manipulations of nematode behavior H Alborn, F Kaplan, J Ali, L Stelinski, P Teal
  • Type: Book Chapters Status: Under Review Year Published: 2015 Citation: Plant cues influencing the behavior of beneficial nematodes as an belowground indirect defense/ Authors: Elizabeth Davidson-lowe & Jared Gregory Ali. Elsevier-Oxford Press.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Screening Strawberry Varieties for trait that increase root herbivore susceptibility to Entomopathogenic Nematodes. Ali J.G., Davidson-Lowe E., & Agrawal A.A.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Below-ground plant defenses and tradeoffs with natural enemies. Ali JG & Agrawal
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Nematode Signaling: Opening a New Can of Worms I. Hiltpold, J. G. Ali, R. A. Butcher, F. C. Schroeder, H. T. Alborn5, F. Kaplan. Invited Review: Journal of Nematology
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: Multitrophic interactions and chemical ecology of nematodes. American Phytopatholoogical Society: Invited Speaker Pasadena, CA
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: Chemical ecology and signaling of Nematodes. Society of Nematologist, 2015
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2015 Citation: Morrison WR, Ingrao A, Ali JG, Szendrei Z (In review) Identification and evaluation of asparagus semiochemicals and their ecological interactions with its early pest community. Journal of Pest Sciecne.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Above and below ground interactions Shaping our Interpretations of Plant signals. Entomology Society of America: Invited Program Symp. Speaker Portland, OR 2014
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Asymmetry of plant defenses between feeding guild. Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships: Invited Speaker Neuchatel, CH 2014
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Multiple Consequences of Belowground Herbivore Induced Volatile Signals. Society for invertebrate Pathology: Invited Key Speaker Mainz, Germany 2014
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Sending Mixed Messages: A Trophic Cascade Produced by a Belowground Herbivore Induced Volatile Signal. American Society of Plant Biologists. Gordon Research Seminar: Plant-volatiles Invited Leader Ventura, CA 2014
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2014 Citation: Root defenses and tradeoffs among root-feeding specialists. Gordon Research Conference: Plant-volatiles Ventura, CA 2014
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Sending Mixed Messages: A Trophic Cascade Produced by a Belowground Herbivore Induced Volatile Signal. American Society of Plant Biologists: Invited Speaker Providence, RI 2013


Progress 09/01/12 to 08/31/13

Outputs
Target Audience: This project reached both strawberry growers in upstate new york. Presenations were made to scienists in the field of chemical ecology at both invited and self registered meetings. It also included work and training of underrepresented undergraduates. Changes/Problems: The study shifted more towards the analysis of entomopathgenic nematode behavior, root-herbivore performance, plant defense and chemical ecology. Constraints on founding due to unforeseen overhead costs limited the amount of possibilities for molecular work and primer design. Furthermore, with the invitation to take a faculty position, we adjusted the budget to allow for more technical assistance and materials to process samples during the transition from Cornell to Michigan State University, where the final writing of all research will be completed. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? I was invited and thus attended many meetings. This improved my presentation skills. At these meetings I was able network with colleagues, and was invited to apply as a targeted hire at Michigan State University for a tenure-track professor position in the department of entomology. I was elected Chair of Entomopathogenic Nematode section for the Society of nematologists. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? This project and the research on belowground interactions received much interest from the scientific community. I was invited to give 4 presentations at national and international meetings in 2013.I have received invitations to present at three additional meetings for 2014. I was also invited to write 3 review papers on the subject. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Publish results and finish data analysis from field experiments with the likelyhood of being published by mid to late 2015. I have been offered an opportunity to submit a proposal to expand on this research by NASGA, North American Strawberry Growers Association. I will also begin a tenure track position January 2014 at Michigan State University, where I will finish analyzing samples, data, and writing up results. I will accept the invitations for presentations and coordinate a symposium on Nematode chemical ecology at the Society of Nematology meeting in 2012 and will lead a plenary session on nematode signaling at the society of nematology meeting 2015.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? We were able to screen 13 varieties of strawberry both in the laboratory and in the field, to look for plant volatiles that would attract beneficial nematodes to kill root herbivores or defenses that might affect root herbivores. We found 3 varieties with interesting traits associated with root herbivory and plant defense. We found that many varieties did not release volatiles attractive to nematode however 3 did increase root volatiles in a manner which increased attraction of beneficial nematodes. We also found that some varieties respond to stressors by increasing root growth, thus becoming less susceptible to the root herbivore. We designed modified volatile collection system which gave us the ability to sample root volatiles in the field. We also designed glass chambers which allowed us to sample root volatiles in the laboratory. At least 3 publications were generated over this period of funding all of which focused on belowground chemically ecology, this is addition to the five manuscripts/book chapters submitted or in preparation. We recruited undergraduate students from work-study programs, all of whom where women and first generation college students. Efforts will continue to recruit disadvantaged students to work on this project.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Analyzing spatial patterns linked to the ecology of herbivores and their natural enemies in the soil. Front Plant Sci. 2013; 4: 378.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Sending Mixed Messages: A Trophic Cascade Produced by a Belowground Herbivore-Induced Cue. JG Ali, R Campos-Herrera, HT Alborn, LW Duncan, LL Stelinski Journal of chemical ecology 39 (8), 1140-1147
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Above-ground herbivory by red milkweed beetles facilitates above- and below-ground conspecific insects and reduces fruit production in common milkweed. AC Erwin, T Z�st, JG Ali, AA Agrawal. Journal of Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12248
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Asymmetry of plant?mediated interactions between specialist aphids and caterpillars on two milkweeds. JG Ali, AA Agrawal Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12271
  • Type: Book Chapters Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Plant cues influencing the behavior of beneficial nematodes as an belowground indirect defense/ Authors: Elizabeth Davidson-lowe & Jared Gregory Ali. Elsevier-Oxford Press.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Screening Strawberry Varieties for trait that increase root herbivore susceptibility to Entomopathogenic Nematodes. Ali J.G., Davidson-Lowe E., & Agrawal A.A.