Insects perform important functions in our ecosystem. They aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, control insect and plant pests, and decompose organic matter, thereby reintroducing nutrients into the soil.
State scientists create disease-resistant strawberry
Danbury News Times
The strawberry, named the Rubicon, is resistant to black root rot, caused by a microscopic worm, and the black vine weevil, a 19th-century import from Europe. Put the two together, and you can completely trash a strawberry's root system, Cowles said. The root rot and the weevil have been an ongoing bane for strawberry farmers in New England and the United States. Farmers have to dig up diseased plants, and wait for pests to clear. They normally have to wait two or three years before they can plant strawberries in the same spot. Cowles got the mother plant from what he and colleagues refer to as the "death field," an experimental plot at the Valley Laboratory in Windsor.
Omnivores obtain resources from more than one trophic level, and choose their food based on quantity and quality of these resources.
Researchers found that western flower thrips killed and fed especially on whitefly crawlers and that the incidence of feeding did not depend on host-plant species. The developmental rate and oviposition rate of western flower thrips was higher on a diet of cucumber leaves with whitefly crawlers than on cucumber leaves without whitefly crawlers, suggesting that thrips do not just kill whiteflies to reduce competition, but utilize whitefly crawlers as food.