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Cotton Ecoinformatics: Using Data from California Cotton Growers to Evaluate the Effect of Lygus hesperus on Cotton Lint Quality
Principal Investigator: Jay Rosenheim, University of California, Davis, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Timespan: January 1, 2012 - March 31, 2013
DPR Contract Manager: Kimberly Steinmann
This project served as the capstone completion of a successful "ecoinformatics" approach to solving a long-standing controversy in cotton pest management. Ecoinformatics is a data-mining approach to research which probes important hypotheses using large pre-existing data sets (in contrast to traditional experimental field studies). The proper management of Lygus hesperus (lygus bug or western tarnished plant bug) on California cotton has been a topic of great controversy among cotton researchers and producers in California for the past 60 years. Lygus bugs feed directly on flower buds and developing fruits ("bolls"), potentially depressing yields as well as decreasing the quality of cotton fiber. Despite dozens of experimental studies, there has been no agreement about when (or if) cotton needs to be protected from lygus damage. Lygus is still a major source of insecticide use in cotton, and is a prime initiator of the "pesticide treadmill" in this crop.
Using this ecoinformatics approach, an extensive database (>1400 field-years of data, derived from private pest control advisors, farmers, and CDPR) was generated, providing unusual abilities to resolve the key questions. In particular, analysis of the database revealed a striking result: the results have identified periods of time during the middle of the growing season (July) when farmers can reduce their use of insecticides dramatically without incurring any loss of yield, quality, or associated production costs. There does appear, therefore, to be a real opportunity to decrease insecticide use in cotton.
Cotton EcoInformatics Final Report, PDF (101 kb)
Meisner MH, Rosenheim JA (2014) Ecoinformatics Reveals Effects of Crop Rotational Histories on Cotton Yield. PLoS ONE 9(1): e85710.
Rosenheim JA, Meisner MH (2013) Ecoinformatics Can Reveal Yield Gaps Associated with Crop-Pest Interactions: A Proof-of-Concept. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80518.
Rosenheim, JA, Parsa, S, Forbes, AA, Krimmel, WA, Law, YH, Segoli, M, Segoli, M, Sivakoff, FS, Zaviezo, T, Gross, K (2011) Ecoinformatics for Integrated Pest Management: Expanding the Applied Insect Ecologist's Tool-Kit, Journal of Economic Entomology, 104(2): 331-342.
Rosenheim, JA (2011) Presentation at UC Davis on February 29, 2011: Ecoinformatics for IPM: Expanding the Applied Insect Ecologist's Tool-Kit.
For content questions, contact:
Department of Pesticide Regulation
Pest Management and Licensing Branch
1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015
Sacramento, CA 95812-4015
Phone: (916) 445-6387
Fax: (916) 324-9006