SIMBIOSYS Project: Sectoral impacts on the diversity of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and their associated ecosystem service of biocontrol

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Resource or Project Abstract

This research examined natural enemy diversity and the ecosystem service of natural biological control in bioenergy crops. Carabid beetles, well documented natural enemies of crop pests, were the focal taxa under examination. The impact of annual and perennial bioenergy crop production on carabid diversity was examined in a large-scale study using Miscanthus and Oilseed rape. Winter wheat and grass for silage were used as annual and perennial conventional crop controls. Results show that carabid diversity was significantly higher in annual crops (Oilseed rape and winter wheat) compared to perennial crops (Miscanthus and grass silage). Moreover, carabid community assemblages in annual bioenergy crops were significantly different from assemblages in perennial crops.

Experimental research examined the role of carabid diversity and biomass in crop pest suppression. Using the Meligethes aeneus - carabid - winter oilseed rape complex as a study system, the individual performance of carabid predator species, and interactions among species at low and high levels of predator biomass, in pest suppression was examined. Pollen beetle larval survival rate declined significantly as carabid predator diversity increased (a diversity effect). As predator biomass increased, larval survival rate decreased (a biomass effect). The impact of increased predator biomass outweighed the positive effect of predator diversity. These finding suggest that carabid predator biomass drives the ecosystem service of natural biocontrol.

Links to papers from this research:

Bourke, D., Stanley, D., O'Rourke, E., Thompson, R., Carnus, T., Dauber, J., Emmerson, M., Whelan, P., Hecq, F., Flynn, E., Dolan, L. and Stout, J. (2013), Response of farmland biodiversity to the introduction of bioenergy crops: effects of local factors and surrounding landscape context. GCB Bioenergy. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12089

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Erin O Rourke
University College Cork

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordsbiodiversity, road landscaping, bioenergy crops, biocontrol, Coleoptera, Carabidae
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2007-B-CD-1-S1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeBiodiversity
Resource Availability: Non Owner-Users Cannot Download Files from This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceTime restrictions based on publishing peer reviewed articles from this research are requested.

Please contact Dr Erin O Rourke for more details
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 0
Project Start Date Tuesday 1st April 2008 (01-04-2008)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st September 2008 (01-09-2008)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Sunday 30th June 2013 (30-06-2013)
Published on SAFERThursday 24th October 2013 (24-10-2013)
Date of Last EditWednesday 4th December 2013 at 17:32:33 (04-12-2013)
Datasets or Files Updated On Thursday 24th October 2013 at 22:51:03 (24-10-2013)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The study was conducted 2009 in the south east of Ireland, covering counties Carlow, Cork, Kildare, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow. Forty-five study sites were selected, consisting of nine replicates of five treatments (crop types): Miscanthus planted on former tillage (MT), Miscanthus planted on former grassland (MG), winter oilseed rape (OS), winter wheat (CT) and grassland for silage (CG). The location of each site is detailed in the raw data. Each site was located on one individual farm (N=45). Spatial aggregation of individual sites in one area was avoided allowing each site to be an independent sampling point.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The SIMBIOSYS Project investigated the impacts that human activity have on biodiversity and ecological functioning, and the associated benefits of biodiversity to human society, that is, ecosystem services. Three expanding sectors of enterprise were addressed in the project: (i) the cultivation of bioenergy crops; (ii) the landscaping of road corridors; and (iii) the aquaculture of sea-food. Field-based studies quantified biodiversity at the genetic, species and habitat levels under current commercial regimes, compared with traditional practices, and investigated ecosystem service delivery in all three sectors. The SIMBIOSYS Project has been a four-and-a-half-year research effort, involving six leading academics in four institutions, six PhD students, eleven research assistants at graduate and postdoctoral level, more than twenty MSc and undergraduate students and many other academic collaborators, both in Ireland and overseas.
Supplementary Information
Links To Other Related Resources
SIMBIOSYS Project Website: (Opens in a new window)

SIMBIOSYS Synthesis Report: (Opens in a new window)

Links to papers from this research: (Opens in a new window)

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