Ecologists have spearheaded this approach: addressing biological control through ecological theory and the development of conceptual models. Such models capture the essence of host-parasitoid interactions and build a framework to help understand and predict the difference between success and failure in biological control. Recent projects include:
- Host-parasitoid models to examine single versus multiple introductions, host refuges from parasitism, and generation time ratios
- Stage structured matrix models to identify vulnerabilities in the life cycles of pests, and demography and ecotoxicology of natural enemy-pesticide interactions
An example, we have used a simple discrete time Nicholson-Bailey model to show, all else being equal, a parasitoid with two generations per host generation (a generation time ratio GTR = 0.5), leads to very effective biological control (lower host equilibrium abundance), whereas for a synchronous parasitoid (GTR = 1.0) a greater clutch size (gregarious development) can also lead to more effective biological control.
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