Pests, plants and parasitoids: how does climate variability affect tri-trophic interactions in apple orchards?

October 2017 – September 2021

Stuart Edwards

There is a growing consensus that improving the sustainability of future food production will require an integrated approach that profits from beneficial species interactions such as natural pest regulation. Climatic variability poses a threat to global food security with drought and temperature-related stressors predicted to cause a disruptive cascade throughout agricultural and horticultural systems.

This project focuses on the effects of climatic variability on tri-trophic interactions in apple orchards. Through a series of laboratory experiments, Stuart quantifies heat-stress responses of plant, aphid pest, and parasitoid to parameterise complex population dynamic models and predict the potential for effective biological control in the future.

Research progress