Canadian Forest Service Publications
Modeling temperature-dependent survival with small datasets: insights from tropical mountain agricultural pests. 2013. Crespo-Pérez, V.; Dangles, O.; Régnière, J.; Chuine, I. Bull. Entomol. Res. 103:336-343.
Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 35421
CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
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Many regions are increasingly threatened by agricultural pests but suffer from a lack of data that hampers the development of adequate population dynamics models that could contribute to pest management strategies. Here, we present a new model relating pest survival to temperature and compare its performance with two published models. We were particularly interested in their ability to simulate the deleterious effect of extreme temperatures even when adjusted to datasets that did not include extreme temperature conditions. We adjusted the models to survival data of three species of potato tuber moth (PTM), some major pests in the Tropical Andes. To evaluate model performance, we considered both goodness-of-fit and robustness. The latter consisted in evaluating their ability to predict the actual altitudinal limits of the species in the Ecuadorian Andes. We found that even though our model did not always provide the best fit to data, it predicted extreme temperature mortality and altitudinal limits accurately and better than the other two models. Our study shows that the ability to accurately represent the physiological limits of species is important to provide robust predictions of invasive pests’ potential distribution, particularly in places where temperatures approach lethal extremes. The value of our model lies in its ability to simulate accurate thermal tolerance curves even with small datasets, which is useful in places where adequate pest management is urgent but data are scarce.
Plain Language Summary
Developing communities in tropical regions suffer significant agricultural losses, due, in part, to insect pests. In these regions, there is little seasonal climate variation compared with temperate regions. This characteristic promotes the spread of agricultural insect pests. There is little information on the relationship between insects and temperatures in tropical environments.
This study compared the performance of a new simulation model relating pest survival to extreme temperatures with two other existing models. To do this, the researchers used data available for three species of potato tuber moth found in the Tropical Andes. They checked to see if the new model could predict the altitudinal limits of these insects. One of the obstacles encountered is that there is little data on extreme temperature conditions for many species of insects in tropical regions. While the new model did not always provide the best results, it is able to accurately predict extreme temperature mortality and altitudinal limits of these insects. The value of this model lies in its ability to simulate accurate thermal tolerance curves even with a limited number of datasets.
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