Climate Change and Its Impact on Biological Control

Program Chairs: Joan van Baaren

In the context of climate change, the aim of this topic is to present the effects of different aspects of climate changes (higher temperatures or CO2 levels, higher frequency of extreme events) on the control of insect pests in different ecological systems (forestry, arable crops, horticulture, vegetable crops) and in different types of interacting species (prey and predators, hosts and parasitoids, entomophtoralean fungi and pests….).

Plenary Speakers

Climate smart agriculture strategies in Latin America 
The effect of Climate change on agricultural production and pest and disease incidence represents a challenge for sustainable production in Latin America and the Caribbean. Extreme weather conditions affect food security and biodiversity. Therefore, is important to investigate the effect of abiotic condition changes on the distribution range of both agricultural pests and their biocontrol agents. Climate-smart agriculture is considered to be an integrated approach to managing cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries, that addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and accelerating climate change. In the context of sustainable production, biological control plays an important role as part of Integrated Pest Management and sustainable production. This talk will present the different strategies put in place and joins efforts looking forward to having a more Resilient Agricultural production system, evaluating the effects of climate change on pests and biological control agents, and using sustainable practices and tools as part of the adaptation process to climate change. The Climate Smart Agriculture approach will be discussed as a possible way of facing some of the current challenges in the region and increasing sustainable production in Latin America. 

Dr. Yelitza Colmenarez

Dr. Yelitza Colmenarez is CABI's Brazil-Latin America Centre Director and Regional Coordinator for the Plantwise Programme -Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Colmenarez is an Agricultural Engineer and she has a master's and Ph.D. in Plant Protection from UNESP-FCA, Brazil. She is a specialist in Sustainable Production, working on International Development projects related to Biopesticides (Entomopathogenic viruses and bacteria), Climate Smart Agriculture, and Biological Control of arthropods and plant diseases, using participatory approaches to agricultural extension and research. She is heavily involved in plant protection techniques, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and Integrated Diseases Management (IDM) approaches. She has experience in implementing these techniques and those of sustainable agricultural practices on cotton, corn, potato, coffee, tropical fruits, and vegetable production. She also works closely with farmers and uses participatory approaches to learning to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to grow better crops sustainably. She has been involved in supporting and implementing projects in most of Latin America and the Caribbean countries. 
Dr. Colmenarez started working with CABI in 2005, based in CABI Switzerland as a project scientist, subsequently in 2007 at the CABI centre in Trinidad and Tobago, as Coordinator, Sustainable Crop & Pest Management and is currently based in the CABI Latin America centre in Brazil. She was the Vice-president and President (2014-2018) IOBC NTRS. Currently is the past president and advisor 1 of the IOBC NTRS.


Asymmetric warming, insect demography and function of biological control

Existing studies concerning warming effects on insect interactions mainly focused on mean temperature increase or uniform changes in diel cycles, with increases in both daytime and nighttime temperatures. However, the rise of global mean temperatures has resulted from daily minimum temperatures increasing more than daily maximum temperatures, and non-growing season temperatures increasing more than growing season temperatures. Importantly, warming at day and night, or in growing and non-growing seasons may have different thermal effects on insects, implying that non-growing season and night warming may affect species and interspecific interactions differently from that of growing season and day warming. Despite previous studies have reported the ecological consequences of warming in mean temperatures, non-growing season and night warming are often overlooked in climate change studies.Here we used the grain aphid Sitobion avenae and the lady beetle Propylaea japonica and as a prey-predator system to study the effect of night warming on interspecific interactions. We measured the demographics and population increase of aphids, and demographics, stage structure, population growth and prey consumption and energy efficiency of the lady beetle. We also compared the different effects between night warming and mean temperature increase. We found an opposite result of warming effects between night warming and mean temperature increase. The mean temperature increase has a significant negative impact on the survival, reproduction and longevity of ladybeetle, subsequently inhibiting the population growth of lady beetle, reducing its total consumptions of prey and finally weakening the biological control effect on aphids. On the contrary, the same amount of increase in nighttime temperature has no effect or positive effect on the important traits of lady beetle, which promotes the population growth of lady beetle, consequently stabilizing its total prey-consumption, maintaining the function of biological control to aphids. Both mean temperature increase and night warming modified the population structure of the lady beetle, with an increasing proportion of adults whereas a decreasing proportion of larvae, but night warming leads to a higher proportion of adults than mean temperature increase does. These new findings emphasize the importance of studying the population dynamics of pests and natural enemies and the efficiency of biological pest control under natural variable temperatures.

Dr. Chun-Sen Ma
Hebei University
Hebei, China

Professor, a climate change biologist at Hebei University and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Scientist for pest control in grape industry in China, executive deputy director of the National Plant Protection Data Center in China. He received his doctor degree from the University of Hannover in Germany. He serves as the vice chairman for the Committee of Disease and Pest Monitoring and Forecasting in Chinese Society of Plant Protection. He serves in editor boards for 4 international journals and review work for national and international grands related to climate change biology. He studies physiology, demographics, population dynamics, interspecific interactions and modelling under climate change with extreme high temperatures, adaptations of insects to extreme climates such as behavioral thermoregulation, phenotypic plasticity and evolution of insects. The focused insects include 1) tiny insects (cereal aphids and drosophila) which sensitive to short-term temperature change, 2) the non-diapause insects (diamondback moth) that can migrate for long-distance to tracking seasonal optimal environments, and 3) the diapause insects (fruit moths) that complete their life cycle locally and respond to seasonal climate change in hibernation.


Biological control and climate change: Insight from multi-level species interactions
Climate change has severe and well-documented impacts on the geographic distribution, diversity, and abundance of a variety of organisms. In insects, temperature shifts affect physiology, behavior, seasonal phenology, migration pattern, number of generations per year, and overwintering strategies. In some cases, food web structure, and composition are quite fragile and are likely to rapidly change in the face of climate warming. Plastic and adaptive responses of organisms to new thermal environments could modify species interactions such as competition, predation and parasitism and impact the structure and stability of communities. New species appear while others disappear from food webs and changes in species interactions between trophic levels occur, with potential deleterious consequences on ecosystem functioning. Furthermore, it appears that microbial partners such as facultative symbionts are strongly involved in the insects' relationship with temperature. Many means of mitigation exist such as habitat management or reduction of anthropogenic stresses. In this talk, I present a global view of the effect of climate change on aphid-parasitoid relationships, considering different studies conducted on the behavior, physiology, and repercussion of changes in thermal regimes on interaction networks and thus on the potential for biological control.

Dr. Kévin Tougeron 
Université de Mons (UMons)
Mons, Belgium

Kévin Tougeron works on the effects of global changes on biotic interactions of interest for certain ecosystem services such as biological control. After a PhD thesis in cotutelle between France and Quebec, he did a postdoc in the United States on circadian rhythms in insects, and then started two successive projects in Belgium and France focused on the role of environmental variations of different kinds on interactions between species (herbivores-predators-symbionts). He has just started in 2023 a faculty position at the University of Mons in Belgium.

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