Risk assessment for psyllids and whiteflies under current and future climate conditions in Luxembourg


CALL: 2018

DOMAIN: SR - Environmental and Earth Sciences


LAST NAME: Eickermann




KEYWORDS: Impact of climate change to pest insectsIntegrated pest controlpotential of sap-sucking insectsnatural enemiestrapping and rearing methodsrisk assessmentadaptation strategies

START: 01/06/2019

END: 30/04/2022

WEBSITE: https://www.list.lu

Submitted Abstract

In the frame of worldwide research for reducing pesticides in agriculture while achieving a sustainable control of crop pests and diseases, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is developing decision support tools for applying non-conventional pest management. Research on multi-trophic interactions between host plants, pest insects and their associated, highly specialized parasitoids is the key for a betting understanding of the complex dependencies between plants and invertebrates. This will allow developing more sophisticated approaches for managing pest insects in crops as well as understanding possible impacts of environmental effects like climate change to this very specific multi-trophic system. Due to their life-cycle, sap-feeding insects and especially whiteflies have the potential to functioning as pattern organisms to identify possible effects of climate change to multi-trophic interactions. Sap-feeding insects belonging to the superfamilies Psylloidea (also known as “psyllids”) and Aleyrodoidea (also known as “whiteflies”) (Insecta, Hemiptera) have high potential to direct damage crops, also due to their capacity to harbour and transmit many noxious pathogens to cultivated plants. So far, no overview about occurrence of these species in Luxembourg is existing. Consequently, research on sap-feeding insects requires a strategic expertise to be established at LIST at the agro-environmental research group due to their high economic damage potential in high value crops like potato or fruits (apple, pear etc.) under present and future climate conditions. For more than 30 years, Prof. Carmelo Rapisarda [Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania, Italy] devotes his studies to whiteflies and psyllids, their impact on crops and integrated control, also as part of wider studies on harmful Hemiptera Sternorrhyncha (including aphids and scale insects) carried out by his research group. His taxonomic and biological studies on these two insect groups are appreciated worldwide. A scientific collaboration between Prof. Rapisarda and LIST has been strengthened in 2017/18, during a sabbatical period that he partially spent at LIST. Studies carried out during this period have produced results in a joint project (entitled “Limiting the impact of emerging whitefly pests and virus disease epidemics in major vegetable production systems”) that has been submitted under the call H2020-SFS-2017-2 of the H2020 program. To promote further achievements, a mobility is planned during the years 2019-2022. In the frame of this mobility plan, Prof. Rapisarda will visit LIST for totally twelve months, aiming at fostering the growth of key-knowledge and know-how on psyllids and whiteflies, developing the scientific performance of the hosting research group at LIST, strengthening the competences of LIST’s newest agro-environmental group by doing fundamental and applied studies. Research objectives are i) an overview about occurring psyllid and whitefly species including their parasitoids in Luxembourg based on multi-sided monitoring programs (including a reference collection), ii) establishment of rearing protocols to keep whitefly species in the laboratory for understanding the interaction of host plants, pest insects and their antagonists, and iii) to evaluate the effects of climate change on this multi-trophic interactions based on lab experiments. This will allow to estimate their potential spread (under current and future climate conditions) and to produce, for the whitefly species, risk maps for their infestations within the Greater Region. To illustrate these results, it is foreseen to do: three peer reviewed publications, a list of occurring psyllid and whitefly species in Luxembourg with a reference collection for scientific studies and a risk management for whiteflies to support political decision takers.
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