Organic Science Cluster

Project lead: Dr. Juli Carrillo, Dr. Pierre Girod

The Plant Insect Ecology and Evolution (PIEE) lab is part of the Western Canada group tackling the invasive Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Drosophila suzukii in berry crop fields and wild berry habitats. Most parts of our research is conducted within the Organic Science Cluster III (OSC). The main objectives are to develop multiple, independent strategies for SWD pest management, with a focus on ecological and organic methods of control.

  • Evaluating the impact of an intercropping system for berries and small fruits. By adding adjacent rows of specific plants we are enhancing biological interactions and diversity. This will reduce SWD presence in crops, through repelling the pest and attracting beneficial natural enemies. 
  • Monitoring the spread and impact of two adventive populations of Asian parasitoids: Ganaspis brasiliensis (Samba wasp) and Leptopilina japonica (Ronin wasp) in British Columbia. These highly specific biological control agents develop inside SWD larvae, resulting in the death of the hosts and the emergence of a new wasp. This method provides long-term and self-sustaining control of SWD.
  • Developing through greenhouse and farm trials, microbial bio-products and novel plant growth promoters to  enhance crop resistance, both above ground as foliar sprays, and below ground, as soil amendments.  Research into multiple vectors of control will increase the likelihood of developing a successful strategy or strategies for better SWD management.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agassiz Research and Development Centre, Agassiz, BC
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research and Development Centre, Summerland, BC
Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal, BC
Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement, St-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC
Dept. of Entomology. Rutgers University, NJ, USA

Organic science cluster 3
University of British Columbia – Land and Food Systems
BC Berry Council
BC Strawberry growers association
BCRaspberry growers association
BC Blueberry growers association