Underneath it all

August 08, 2005

The tastiest root

There are many insects which spend part of their lives below ground, feeding on the roots of various plants. While much is known about their above-ground lives, less is known about what they do underground. Focusing on the clover root weevil (Sitona lepidus), an insect that attacks white clover (Trifolium repens) throughout Europe and the United States, Scott Johnson, Peter Gregory (Scottish Crop Research Institute, UK), and Xioxian Zhang (University of Abertay, UK) used various techniques, including x-ray tomography, to observe the insects' plant choices. The team identified a flavanoid compound that attracted the weevils, who show a preference for N2-fixing root nodules. The talk, "What lies beneath: How do soil insects find host plant roots?" will be given by Scott Johnson during Organized Oral Session 8: Invertebrate Ecology: Butterflies and Soil Insects.

Monday 8 August 08:00 - 11:30 EDT, Meeting Room 518 C, Level 5, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Draped in silk

If a predator left a clue behind every time it went somewhere, prey might start to catch on. Apparently some insects have noticed that spiders frequently leave tell-tale trails of silk behind. Beetles, which could be a mighty hard catch for some spiders, avoid the presence of fresh silk, according to Ann Rypstra (Miami University, Ohio, US) and Christopher Buddle (McGill University, Quebec, Canada). In their study, Rypstra and Buddle examined the effect spider and silkworm silk had on the leaf-chewing Japanese Beetles and Mexican Bean Beetles, two herbivores that feast on snap beans. The presence of silk on snap bean leaves worked as a pest deterrent of sorts, as the beetles did less damage to the silk draped plants than the ones left bare. Rypstra will present the poster, "Silk reduces plant damage caused by pest insects," during Poster Session 24: Agroecology.

Wednesday 10 August, 17:00 - 18:30 EDT, Exhibit Hall 220 A-E, Level 2, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Throwing dirt on disease

Even with a wide range of techniques and tools, diseases--both new and old--continue to plague farmers' crops. Investigating the importance of biodiversity in soil, Jean Ristiano, Bo Lui, Shujin Hu, and Marcia Gumpertz (North Carolina State University, US) compared the use of synthetic and organic fertilizers in combating the invasive soil-borne pathogen Sclerotium rolfsii, a fungus which causes Southern Blight. The group's findings will be presented during Poster Session 24: Agroecology. The title of the poster is, "Influence of microbial species and functional diversity in soils on pathogen dispersal and ecosystem process in organic and conventional agroecosystems."

Wednesday 10 August, 17:00 - 18:30 EDT, Exhibit Hall 220 A-E, Level 2 Palais des congrès de Montréal

Genetic modification: Bacillus thringiensis (Bt) in the soil

Genetically modified Bt maize produces a protein considered toxic to certain insects that would normally damage these crops. Marko Debeljak (Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia) and colleagues from France and Denmark examined the effects of these crops on organisms living in the soil nearby, that are not specific targets or particular pests to the crops: springtails (Collembola) and earthworms. Debeljak will discuss the results in a talk entitled, "Effects of genetically modified Bt maize on earthworms and Collembola functional groups" during Contributed Oral Session 137: Agroecology: Pest Control, Dispersal, and Pollination.

Thursday 11 August, 13:30 - 17:00 EDT, Meeting room 519 A, Level 5, Palais des congrès de Montréal

These presentations are part of the ESA-INTECOL joint meeting. For more information about these sessions and other ESA-INTECOL Meeting activities, visit: www.esa.org/montreal. The theme of the meeting is "Ecology at multiple scales," and some 4,000 scientists are expected to attend.
-end-
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a scientific, non-profit, 9000-member organization founded in 1915. Through ESA reports, journals, membership research, and expert testimony to Congress, ESA seeks to promote the responsible application of ecological data and principles to the solution of environmental problems. ESA publishes four scientific, peer-reviewed journals: Ecology, Ecological Applications, Ecological Monographs, and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. For more information about the Society visit www.esa.org

Ecological Society of America

Related Spiders Articles from Brightsurf:

Environmental factors affect the distribution of Iberian spiders
Southern small-leaved oak forests are the habitats with a higher level of spider endemism in the Iberian Peninsula, according to an article published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation.

These spiders can hear
Ogre-faced spiders hide during the day and hunt by night, dangling from palm fronds and casting nets on insects.

Untangling the social lives of spiders
Scientists begin to unravel the genetic mechanism by which a solitary spider becomes a social one.

Freshwater insects recover while spiders decline in UK
Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Cave fights for food: Voracious spiders vs. assassin bugs
Killing and eating of potential competitors has rarely been documented in the zoological literature, even though this type of interaction can affect population dynamics.

Spiders and ants inspire a metallic structure that refuses to sink
University of Rochester researchers have created a metallic structure that is so hydrophobic, it refuses to sink - no matter how often it is forced into water or how much it is damaged or punctured.

Compact depth sensor inspired by spiders
Inspired by jumping spiders, researchers at the Harvard John A.

Researchers find hurricanes drive the evolution of more aggressive spiders
Researchers at McMaster University who rush in after storms to study the behavior of spiders have found that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones may have an evolutionary impact on populations living in storm-prone regions, where aggressive spiders have the best odds of survival.

Baby spiders really are watching you
Baby jumping spiders can hunt prey just like their parents do because they have vision nearly as good.

Solitude breeds aggression in spiders (rather than vice versa)
Spiders start out social but later turn aggressive after dispersing and becoming solitary, according to a study publishing July 2 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Raphael Jeanson of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, and colleagues.

Read More: Spiders News and Spiders Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.