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Anolis lizards as biocontrol agents in mainland and island agroecosystems

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Our knowledge of ecological interactions that bolster ecosystem function and productivity has broad applications to the management of agricultural systems. Studies suggest that the presence of generalist predators in agricultural landscapes leads to a decrease in the abundance of herbivorous pests, but our understanding of how these interactions vary across taxa and along gradients of management intensity and eco‐geographic space remains incomplete. In this study, we assessed the functional response and biocontrol potential of a highly ubiquitous insectivore (lizards in the genus Anolis) on the world's most important coffee pest, the coffee berry borer (Hypothalemus hampei). We conducted field surveys and laboratory experiments to examine the impact of land‐use intensification on species richness and abundance of anoles and the capacity of anoles to reduce berry borer infestations in mainland and island coffee systems. Our results show that anoles significantly reduce coffee infestation rates in laboratory settings (Mexico, p = .03, F = 5.13 df = 1, 35; Puerto Rico, p = .014, F = 8.82, df = 1, 10) and are capable of consuming coffee berry borers in high abundance. Additionally, diversified agroecosystems bolster anole abundance, while high‐intensity practices, including the reduction of vegetation complexity and the application of agrochemicals were associated with reduced anole abundance. The results of this study provide supporting evidence of the positive impact of generalist predators on the control of crop pests in agricultural landscapes, and the role of diversified agroecosystems in sustaining both functionally diverse communities and crop production in tropical agroecosystems.

No MeSH data available.


Representative photographs of diversified shade coffee in Mexico (a), diversified shade coffee in Puerto Rico (b), intensive sun coffee in Mexico (c), and intensive sun coffee in Puerto Rico (d)
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ece32806-fig-0002: Representative photographs of diversified shade coffee in Mexico (a), diversified shade coffee in Puerto Rico (b), intensive sun coffee in Mexico (c), and intensive sun coffee in Puerto Rico (d)

Mentions: Field surveys were conducted in the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico, and the Puerto Rican municipalities of Orocovis and Adjuntas during the months of June and July 2015, respectively. The coffee‐growing landscape in Mexico is characterized by large farms (~300 hectares) with remnant patches of tropical evergreen forests making up approximately 6% of the 52‐km2 area covered. A total of twenty‐three 50 × 25 m sampling sites were surveyed along a gradient of shaded canopy cover and intensity (Figure 2a,c), within an altitudinal range of ~1,100–1,200 m above sea level. In Puerto Rico, coffee farms were more distinctly divided into shaded and unshaded management regimes and notably smaller in size (~1–6 ha per farm; Figure 2b,d). Survey sites were selected in a similar landscape of high‐altitude (550–730 m asl) farms within a matrix of tropical forest. A total of six 50 × 25 m plots were sampled along a gradient of canopy cover and intensity analogous to that of Mexico.


Anolis lizards as biocontrol agents in mainland and island agroecosystems
Representative photographs of diversified shade coffee in Mexico (a), diversified shade coffee in Puerto Rico (b), intensive sun coffee in Mexico (c), and intensive sun coffee in Puerto Rico (d)
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5383488&req=5

ece32806-fig-0002: Representative photographs of diversified shade coffee in Mexico (a), diversified shade coffee in Puerto Rico (b), intensive sun coffee in Mexico (c), and intensive sun coffee in Puerto Rico (d)
Mentions: Field surveys were conducted in the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico, and the Puerto Rican municipalities of Orocovis and Adjuntas during the months of June and July 2015, respectively. The coffee‐growing landscape in Mexico is characterized by large farms (~300 hectares) with remnant patches of tropical evergreen forests making up approximately 6% of the 52‐km2 area covered. A total of twenty‐three 50 × 25 m sampling sites were surveyed along a gradient of shaded canopy cover and intensity (Figure 2a,c), within an altitudinal range of ~1,100–1,200 m above sea level. In Puerto Rico, coffee farms were more distinctly divided into shaded and unshaded management regimes and notably smaller in size (~1–6 ha per farm; Figure 2b,d). Survey sites were selected in a similar landscape of high‐altitude (550–730 m asl) farms within a matrix of tropical forest. A total of six 50 × 25 m plots were sampled along a gradient of canopy cover and intensity analogous to that of Mexico.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Our knowledge of ecological interactions that bolster ecosystem function and productivity has broad applications to the management of agricultural systems. Studies suggest that the presence of generalist predators in agricultural landscapes leads to a decrease in the abundance of herbivorous pests, but our understanding of how these interactions vary across taxa and along gradients of management intensity and eco‐geographic space remains incomplete. In this study, we assessed the functional response and biocontrol potential of a highly ubiquitous insectivore (lizards in the genus Anolis) on the world's most important coffee pest, the coffee berry borer (Hypothalemus hampei). We conducted field surveys and laboratory experiments to examine the impact of land‐use intensification on species richness and abundance of anoles and the capacity of anoles to reduce berry borer infestations in mainland and island coffee systems. Our results show that anoles significantly reduce coffee infestation rates in laboratory settings (Mexico, p = .03, F = 5.13 df = 1, 35; Puerto Rico, p = .014, F = 8.82, df = 1, 10) and are capable of consuming coffee berry borers in high abundance. Additionally, diversified agroecosystems bolster anole abundance, while high‐intensity practices, including the reduction of vegetation complexity and the application of agrochemicals were associated with reduced anole abundance. The results of this study provide supporting evidence of the positive impact of generalist predators on the control of crop pests in agricultural landscapes, and the role of diversified agroecosystems in sustaining both functionally diverse communities and crop production in tropical agroecosystems.

No MeSH data available.