Integrating Agriculture and Prairie Restoration: Native Wildflowers to Support Natural Enemies of Crop Pests

Dan Gibson
Michigan State University
Dan is a master’s student in Entomology at Michigan State. Prior to beginning his work in Michigan, Dan earned a B.A. in Biology and History at Luther College, where he explored plant community response to burn regime in an oak savanna restoration, invasion patterns of European buckthorn, and intraguild predation between aquatic insect predators. He is especially interested in restoration ecology and biological control. Dan’s research at MSU seeks to encourage integration of agriculture and conservation by improving our understanding of native plant habitat restoration.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University; Doug Landis, Michigan State University; Julia Perrone, Michigan State University; Logan Rowe, Michigan State University

We are increasingly aware of the severe consequences of habitat loss for many animals and plants, and yet we must also continue to provide nourishment for a large global population. These two realities often place conservationists and growers in conflict with each other. We can integrate the interests of each by understanding and promoting the use of restored native plant habitats to support beneficial insect populations that will provide pest control and pollination services to farmers. Native wildflowers may provide multiple benefits to natural enemies of agricultural pests, such as nectar and pollen supply, alternative hosts, and undisturbed nesting and overwintering sites. This study is surveying the attractiveness to beneficial insects of 54 native and 2 non-native perennial plants for potential use in habitat restoration for agricultural pest control and pollination.

Poster Division: