Natural Enemies and Resistance Management in Transgenic Bt CornEPA Grant Number: U915785
Title: Natural Enemies and Resistance Management in Transgenic Bt Corn
Investigators: White, Jennifer A.
Institution: University of Minnesota
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $84,874
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems
The objective of this research project is to determine the effect of a specialist natural enemy, Macrocentrus grandii (M. grandii) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), on the spread of resistance in the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), to transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn. It will be determined if either the spatial distribution or developmental rate of the corn borer influences its susceptibility to parasitism. This information will be used to model resistance evolution in the European corn borer.
To explore the effect of corn borer spatial distribution on susceptibility to parasitism, different sized outbreaks of resistance will be simulated by planting patches of non-Bt corn in Bt cornfields and loading the nontoxic plants with European corn borers. M. grandii will be released, and parasitism rates will be compared in small versus large "outbreak" patches. To test whether slow growth of resistant individuals might increase susceptibility to parasitism, corn borers will be selected within the laboratory colony for slow or fast growth, and susceptibility to parasitism in the field will be evaluated as described above. Data will be incorporated from both studies into a model of resistance development in the European corn borer.
Characterization of the effect M. grandii has on the European corn borer will allow refinement of ecological models and resistance management strategies.