The goal of this project is to conduct research and education to increase the availability of insectary plants to enhance beneficial insects in the North-Central Region. In 2015-2016, we conducted weekly sampling of natural enemy and pollinator abundance on 54 species of plants in three common-garden research sites located at: 1) Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC), 2) the Clarksville Research Center (CRC), and 3) Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC). 2015 samples have been sorted and insects identified while 2016 samples are still being processed. Our 2015 results show 25 to 27 species of plants that are significantly more attractive to natural enemies and pollinators than control plots. Our 2015 results were shared with a variety of scientific and lay audiences via field days, research talks, and poster presentations at grower meetings and land stewardship conferences. Over 120 people attended our project-specific field day in July 2016. In 2017, we focused on data analysis in preparation for publishing manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, informing our stakeholders of our results, and redesign of our website to incorporate a plant selector tool.
- Complete data analysis and prepare manuscripts for publication.
- Inform stakeholders about the project results.
- Complete redesign of website and add plant selector tool.
Analysis of the pollinator portion of this project is largely complete and the student involved has successfully defended their Masters thesis. To date, one manuscript on plant attractiveness has been submitted (see below) and the data has been prepared for publication in an online data archive. A second manuscript on plant traits leading to pollinator attractiveness is in preparation (ca. 90 % complete).
Rowe, L, D. Gibson, D Landis, J. Gibbs, R Isaacs. Drought–Tolerant Prairie Plants to Support Managed and Wild Bees in Conservation Programs. Environmental Entomology. Submitted 2.18.2018
Rowe, L, D. Gibson, J. Gibbs, D Landis, R Isaacs. A dataset consisting of plant traits, bee species and their visitation rates to native Michigan wildflowers. For Ecological Archives.
Analysis of the natural enemy portion of this project is approximately 60% complete and the student involved is slated to defend their Masters project in summer 2018. Two manuscripts are anticipated as well as a data set for publication in an online archive.
Overall, our data show that many native plant species are highly attractive to both pollinators and natural enemies. Plants can be selected from early, mid, and late-season bloom periods and contrasted for their attractiveness to pollinators and natural enemies using the figures below.
Stakeholders have been informed about the project results through our 2016 field day, multiple presentations, and a workshop we held for master gardeners in 2017 (see events). An extension bulletin detailing our results is anticipated for summer 2018.
Our Native Plants and Ecosystem Services website has been completely redesigned. It now includes a newsfeed articles related to the overall topic of native plants and ecosystem services. A plant selector tool has also been developed and made live on the website. It currently includes plants that we previously tested in other research. Results from our current research be added to the plant selector tool in 2018.
We used a combination of field days, talks at extension meetings and commodity Expo events, and workshops to educate stakeholders about our results. We also made our results available through a website on native plants and ecosystem services
Educational & Outreach Activities
Field Days/Workshops (presenter name in bold)
Using Beneficial Natural Enemies to Control Pests in Your Garden or Home Landscape. DA Landis, D Gibson, L Rowe, J Perrone Master Gardener College Workshop, June 23, 2017. (3h lecture and lab). PowerPoint presentation: Native Plants to Enhance Natural Enemies.
Gibson, DR. March 2017. Natural enemies and native plant habitat. Presentation to Pattengill Middle School students. Lansing, MI.
Presentations (presenter name in bold)
Gibson, DR, L Rowe, R Isaacs, and DA Landis. January 2017. Michigan native plants to attract beneficial natural enemies in agriculture. Stewardship Network Science Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems. East Lansing, MI. (poster)
Rowe, Logan, Daniel Gibson, Douglas Landis, Rufus Isaacs. Habitat management to support beneficial insects: selecting the right plant species. The Science, Practice, and Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems. East Lansing, MI, January 12-13, 2018. (presentation)
Logan Rowe, Daniel Gibson, Rufus Isaacs, Douglas Landis. Variation in Plant Attractiveness to Pollinators in 3 Regions of Michigan. The Science, Practice, and Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems. East Lansing, MI, January 13-14, 2017. (poster)
Gibson, DR, L Rowe, R Isaacs, and DA Landis. March 2017. Integrating agriculture and ecological restoration: Native wildflowers can support natural pest suppression. Society for Ecological Restoration MWGL Chapter Meeting. Grand Rapids, MI. Best Student Oral Presentation, SER-MWGL Chapter Meeting 2017
Logan Rowe, Dan Gibson, Doug Landis, Rufus Isaacs. Plant selection to support pollinators and natural enemies in Michigan farm landscapes and beyond. Entomological Society of America. Denver, Colorado, November 5-8th, 2017. (invited presentation)