Through a project, funded by USDA NIFA, we are currently investigating how plants and insect herbivores use chemical cues from natural enemies to assess their risk of attack. More specifically, we are studying the influence of chemical cues from beneficial entomopathogenic nematodes, an important belowground natural enemy, on plant protection from herbivores. Our goal is to provide additional knowledge about the chemical ecology of biological control in agroecosystems, which will contribute to sustainable pest management decisions and inform fundamental concepts in multitrophic interactions.

Caroline and Allison infecting insect larvae with entomopathogenic nematodes

John and Allison conducting choice tests with beetle larvae

William setting up an oviposition choice test

William presenting a poster of his research at Penn State Research Exhibition