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Spatial and temporal dynamics of entomopathogenic nematodes

The life-history and infection parameters of the entomopathogenic nematodes Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev)(Nematoda:Rhabditida) and Heterorhahditis megidis (Poinar, Jackson & Klein)(Nematoda:Rhabditida) were examined to provide specific details for the construction of mathematical SI models for biological control of soil insect pests. Laboratory experiments using the Greater Waxmoth, Galleria mellonella as the model host were undertaken to specifically examine the transmission behaviour of infective juvenile nematodes. The proportion of infective juveniles of S. feltiae which infected hosts was dependent on time. Previous studies declared that the proportion of infective juveniles which can infect is static, however, over a period of 5 days most of the infective juveniles infected hosts, demonstrating that the proportion infecting is dynamic. Infection of hosts by both species of nematode was compared using two mathematical representations of the transmission rate. Whereas the most parsimonious form of transmission for H. megidis was the linear Mass Action function, it was evident that, when measured at the individual nematode scale, S. feltiae transmission was non-linear. I postulated that this functional difference is due to the biology of the two species of nematodes. The subsequent effect of including the non-linear response on model predictions were investigated and it was demonstrated that the dynamics of the host nematode interaction became less stable. Spatial models of S. feltiae infection were parameterised from laboratory experiments, and control prediction of these models examined. The horizontal rate of dispersal through sand columns was determined in the presence and absence of hosts. Infective juveniles were found to disperse preferentially towards hosts. The predicted dynamics of pest control using the spatial moqel were highly dependent on the degree of nematode dispersal, host dispersal and the attraction of nematode infective juveniles towards hosts. The overall findings of this thesis have been placed in the context of epidemiological models created elsewhere, and predict that entomopathogenic nematodes may be targeted to specific pest systems with a high degree of success. An understanding of the infection biology of these nematode species is crucial in determining how and when pests may be controlled, and equally importantly, which systems successful control is not predicted.
Date January 2001
CreatorsFairbairn, Jonathan Paul
PublisherUniversity of Stirling
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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