Viral parasite-host interactions
The interaction between parasites and insects mediated by viruses is critical to agriculture and biomedical science. The questions that UGA entomologists pose are: 1) how do parasites and microbes cause disease in insect pests, 2) how do insects interact with viruses or bacteria that are beneficial symbionts, and 3) what impact do beneficial symbionts have on the pest status of insects? Research in the past year has focused on several beneficial viruses that are carried by parasitic wasps, which are important insects for use in biological control of agricultural pests. The program has also focused upon insects known as adelgids that feed upon key forest tree species. In particular, they have examined how beneficial bacterial symbionts present in these insects can influence their tree host range and pest status, focusing upon the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid that is invasive in the Northeast.