Sunday, 15 May 2016

2016 Staff at Beaverlodge - Hannah

Hey there! My name is Hannah, and I just finished my third year of Environmental Sciences at the University of British Columbia. My area of concentration is Ecology & Conservation, and if you’re having trouble locating me I’m probably taking a gander in the forest or mountains. 

I have just completed my second week with the IPM team at Beaverlodge Research Farm and I have already learned many things, including deploying diamondback moth pheromone traps, flea beetle sticky traps (Figure 1), and pea leaf weevil pitfall traps. I have also had the opportunity to process samples collected from these traps and observe these little fellas under the microscope. An important part of pest management research is the preservation of samples for further studies, and I have had an introduction to how to preserve samples in ethanol as well as drying and pinning specimens. 

Figure 1. Deploying flea beetle sticky traps along the edge of the field.

Along with collecting and processing samples, I also have learned the importance of disease control, specifically of clubroot in crops in the Brassica family. Clubroot is caused by a protist pathogen that induces a gall on the roots of canola and related crops. The pathogen inhibits water and nutrient uptake and results in stunting, wilting, and can eventually cause severe yield losses. The spores can stay dormant within the soil for up to twenty years and it is near impossible to eradicate which is why the control of clubroot is so important. Because of this, we wear sanitary booties in the field in order to prevent the spread of soil from one site to another. Clubroot is an example of one aspect of IPM that I have learned so far in the program and I look forward to learning more as the summer progresses!