Newswise — Results of a new study suggest that predators of weed seeds by both vertebrates and invertebrates may reduce weed emergence and influence the weed community. The study is published in the latest issue of Weed Science.
Weeds are the primary pest problem in North American agricultural cropping systems. It is estimated that in the United States, the total costs associated with losses, damage, and control of weeds in crops each year reaches $27 billion, according to a past study. The integration of additional weed management methods, such as biological and cultural control, could reduce weed management costs and mitigate crop yield and quality losses due to weeds.
Seed predation—the consumption and destruction of weed seeds by granivorous insects and mammals—is one biological control tactic that may contribute to reducing our reliance on mechanical and chemical weed control tactics.
The objective of the study was to determine the feeding preferences of common invertebrate seed predators in feeding-choice studies, determine whether these insects would feed on buried weed seeds, and assess whether weed seed predation could alter weed community composition.
Overall the researchers' laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies indicated that invertebrates consumed seed of all three weed species from the soil surface and some seed from shallow burial depths. Consumption of weed seeds by three carabid beetle genera, field crickets, and the white-footed mouse had some influence on the composition of the weed community at the field sites.
To read the entire study, click here: http://www.allenpress.com/pdf/i0043-1745-55-6-606.pdf
Weed Science is the official publication of the Weed Science Society of America presenting original research and scholarship, in peer-reviewed articles related to all aspects of weed science, including invasive plant species. For more information regarding the Weed Science Society of America please visit http://www.wssa.net
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Weed Science (Vol. 55(6), 2007)