Master’s degree candidate, 2014 to present
Soybean does great in North America, as it has few pests; soybean aphid arrived in 2000 and has spread widely in part because of lack of predators. Aphelinus certus is a parasitoid of the soybean aphid and despite being denied release as a biocontrol agent has found its way to North America. I will study the competition between this parasitoid, another that is extant here, and a third, a biocontrol agent permitted for USA release,
To study their relations I will look at oviposition behaviors and intrinsic competition. When offered an aphid previously parasitized, what behavioral changes can be observed? Intrinsic competition, the battle of wasp larvae within the body of an aphid, is not well studied, and this system provides an excellent view of an invasional front which has biological interest as well as economic interest.