Assistant Extension Professor Entomology & Integrated Pest Management Coordinator
Department of Plant Sciences & Landscape Architecture
Dr. Ana Legrand’s research interests are in the areas of biological control and tritrophic level interactions. One of her goals is to increase our understanding of tritrophic interactions occurring in managed systems. Knowing how plants influence both the pest insects and biological control agents will allow us to improve our pest management strategies. One area of work focuses on the influence of plant morphological variation on the control of pea aphid by its complex of predators and parasitoids. She is taking advantage of pea lines that possess single gene mutations that drastically alter the shape of leaves and stipules. Previous work had shown that variation in plant morphology can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of coccinellid predators. Recent efforts have studied the influence of plant morphology on the occurrence of intraguild predation (IGP) between coccinellid and lacewing insect predators.
Other lines of work deal with management of insect pests of turf and ornamental plants. Specifically, she has begun research evaluating the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae against Japanese and Oriental beetles which are important pests of ornamentals and turf. She hopes to develop more information about insect natural enemies of the Japanese and Oriental beetles. To this end, a recent project determined the presence and seasonal occurrence of the parasitoid wasp Tiphia vernalis which was released in Connecticut back in the early 1930’s for Japanese beetle control.
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