The Application of DNA Barcoding to Enhance Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management (IPM) is currently the dominant pest management paradigm globally. Key to the success of IPM is tailoring management actions to the particular suite of pests and beneficial species present in a given system. As such, the ability to accurately identify pests and beneficials to the level of species is critically important to IPM research and application. DNA barcoding is a genetic method for specimen identification that aims to extend taxonomic expertise to new user communities, and new specimen categories (e.g., previously unidentifiable life-stages). In this thesis, I extend the use of DNA barcoding as a diagnostic method for application in the sphere of IPM. Frist, I examine the application of barcoding to regulatory IPM activities and present a summary of currently available DNA barcode data on a newly generated list of globally important pest species. Second, I explore the ability of DNA barcoding to contribute to the identification of Lepidoptera intercepted during border inspection programs. In this case, DNA barcoding was able to increase the number of specimens identified to the level of species compared to traditional morphological approaches. Third, I use DNA barcoding as a diagnostic tool for applied IPM research and on-farm decision making, to investigate demographic trends in a mixed cryptic-species infestations of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. I then demonstrated how commonly-implemented greenhouse pest monitoring activities can provide specimens suitable for DNA barcode based identification, thereby providing a feasible way to incorporate DNA barcoding into greenhouse IPM. Fourth, I demonstrate the need for a standardized diagnostic tool for arthropods in the context of biological control, an important component of the IPM paradigm.