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AFRI – FAS Pests and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems (A1112)

September 21, 2023

Program Area Priority: The goal of the Pests and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems program is to advance knowledge of invasive or established plant pests and associated beneficial species leading to innovative and biologically-based strategies to manage pests. Appropriate plant-based agricultural production systems for study include food and fiber crops, ornamental plants (including turf), and managed grasslands, rangelands and planted forests. Conventional, organic, and protected systems (including hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, vertical farming, and other controlled environment agricultural systems) are appropriate for study. Pests may include invertebrates, plant pathogens and/or their vectors, nematodes or weeds. Beneficial species in this program will be restricted to biological control agents and microbes that play a role in pest management. Molecular, organismal, population, and/or community approaches are appropriate to this program. Both foundational and translational projects are welcome.

Applications must address one or more of the following (order does not indicate importance):

  1. Biotic and abiotic factors, affecting the abundance or spread of agriculturally-important plant pests, disease vectors, or beneficial species relevant to pest management; factors may include (but are not limited to) other plant pests or beneficial species, climate change, plant compounds, pesticides, or toxins;
  2. Behavioral attributes of pests and beneficial species, including intra- or interspecies interactions and/or communication systems relevant to pest management;
  3. Factors that contribute to invasiveness, including (but not limited to) studies using population genetics/genomic approaches or models to predict, prevent or manage outbreaks, or to pinpoint geographic distribution or origin;
  4. Movement or dispersal dynamics of pests or beneficial organisms, including pests that vector plant diseases; this could include epidemiological factors that influence disease spread, the influence of agronomic practices on weed populations, and research on aspects of weed biology that impact reproductive biology, seed bank dynamics, and other population-level aspects;
  5. Mechanisms of pest resistance to pesticides or toxins in genetically-modified plants (e.g., fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, or Bt toxin) and development of strategies to mitigate resistance and/or crop failure;
  6. Use of indigenous traditional ecological knowledge in pest and disease control.


September 21, 2023
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