NEWS

:: August 2015

:: New paper published

Here we present a new set of 45 primers designed to target a wide range of invertebrate taxa common to temperate cereal crops: cereal aphids, their natural enemies such as carabid beetles, ladybeetles, lacewings, and spiders, and potential alternative prey groups (earthworms, springtails, and dipterans).

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:: August 2015

:: New paper published

In this paper we present Food Web Designer, a stand-alone, highly flexible and user friendly software tool to quantitatively visualize trophic and other types of bipartite and tripartite interaction networks.

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:: March 2015

:: New paper published

In a field cage experiment, we investigated the effect of increased predator diversity (single species vs. three-species assemblages) and the presence of weeds (providing structural complexity) on the biological control (process speed) of cereal aphids during conditions of high aphid abundances close to crop heading.

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:: October 2014

:: Appeal project extended

The Appeal-project has been granted a cost neutral extension with one year until Dec 2015.

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:: May 2014

:: New paper published

In this paper we examined how the management options of organic farming at the field scale and crop diversification at the landscape level affect the taxonomic and functional structure of generalist predator communities and how these effects vary along a landscape complexity gradient.

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:: May 2014

:: Workshop held in Darmstadt

A workshop hosted by Nico Blüthgen was held in Darmstadt, Germany 12-13 May 2014.

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:: January 2014

:: New paper published

In this paper a conceptual framework is presented for predicting land-use impact on biological control of pests by natural enemies.

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NOTE: We’ve changed our website address. Please bookmark the new address for the APPEAL site: appeal.slu.se

Biological pest control provided by natural enemies is an ecosystem service of immense economic value - threatened by agricultural intensification. It is a service for which great amounts of background information have been gathered and it is, therefore, an excellent study system for exploring generalities of delivery, stability and value of ecosystem services for land use, biodiversity, and society.

APPEAL investigates a) the relationship between land use and biodiversity, b) biodiversity and the ecosystem service of biological control. Furthermore, it will c) provide a framework for estimating the value of biological control. As a model pest APPEAL uses cereal aphids, which are among the economically most important insect pests in Europe. These aphids are attacked by a range of natural enemies such as lady beetles, ground beetles and spiders, and the biological control service provided by these species is known to be substantial.

APPEAL uses historical records and current data to analyze how changes in the natural enemy fauna are influenced by land-use change. In order to achieve understanding on a mechanistic level, a food-web approach is used; employing molecular methods and field experiments. A valuation framework is being developed that can model biocontrol of cereal aphids across European landscapes.

Key research questions that will be answered within APPEAL are:

1. How do natural enemy communities vary temporally and spatially and how does this affect the stability of biocontrol services?

2. Are food-web structure and interactions affected by landscape composition and management, and what implications does this have for biological control?

3. How do biocontrol services vary across agricultural landscapes and where are areas with a surplus or deficit of the service located across Europe?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of biological control as compared to conventional plant protection? Which of these non-monetary advantages and disadvantages can be expressed in monetary terms, and how?

The results generated by APPEAL are intended to support assessing multiple ecosystem services by providing a clear and adaptable structure for incorporating ecosystem service values into land-use change scenarios.


This research was funded by the ERA-Net BiodivERsA, with the national funders FORMAS, Sweden, BMBF, Germany, and FWF, Austria, part of the 2010 BiodivERsA call for research proposals.