Blending biology with ecology to manage arthrodpods
An initial goal in 2008 was to develop a diversely funded research program that aimed to solve local and regional issues through the development of novel techniques to monitor and control economically important arthropods in agricultural production systems. This work reflects not only the mission of K-State Research and Extension (KSRE) but also integrates with the immediate needs of producers at a field level. Since then, our program has gained significant momentum, which is reflected in the tangible products and outcomes.
Immediate research questions focused on stakeholder needs for information for effective management of emerging pests or arthropods of local and regional importance. Consequently, hypothesis-driven projects focused on ways to use pest biology and cultural practices to manage arthropods; such projects were primarily funded through commodity organizations.
Through existing collaborations and networks, our research program has expanded to include the development of novel, area-wide management strategies. Increased demands in biofuel production in conjunction with volatile commodity prices will require a broader understanding of landscape-level changes (increased acreage or introduction of new crops) on beneficial communities and sustainability of current management practices in general.
The future of effective and efficient biosecurity surveillance programs, and pest management in general, will require a higher level of automation and technical sophistication and an increased dependence on affordable technologies. Reliable yet effective sampling efforts are imperative to the future of plant biosecurity and food security in general.