Multitrophic ecosystem services of hoverflies resulting from Integrated Pest Management
This is the PhD project of Dylan Hodgkiss. It is a collaboration with Dr Michelle Fountain (lead-PI) at NIAB-EMR, and Berry Gardens, the UK's leading berry and stone fruit production and marketing group.
Pollination and pest management are key needs for sustainable agriculture. While considerable work has been focused on bees, the value and use of other key pollinators, such as hoverflies, has received little attention. In addition to their value as pollinators, hoverflies may provide key pest control services, making them of high value as an integrated management system for crop production. This project will build on pilot work, and use a range of techniques (laboratory, cage and field experiments, habitat manipulations, next-generation sequencing technology) to determine the ecological and economic value of hoverflies for a key UK soft-fruit crop (strawberries). Results will inform crop management strategies, as well as providing the first case study of the integrated value of a key pollinator and pest control agent.