A population biologist who is assessing the impacts of pollinator, pest, parasitoid, and predator arthropod populations on Yolo County’s native-plant hedgerows will discuss her research Wednesday, May 18 at the last in a series of spring  seminars at  the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

Lora Morandin, with the College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley, will speak on "Restoring Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes” from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs. Host is native pollinator specialist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis.

“In intense agricultural landscapes, essential ecosystem services are compromised, threatening production and necessitating external inputs,” Morandin said. “The need for agriculture to be more sustainable and less reliant on external inputs, such as pesticides and managed pollinators, is increasingly being recognized. Yet, there is little information on how restoration practices impact beneficial insect communities and ecosystem services in adjacent production areas.”

Her work involves comparing beneficial and pest arthropod populations in mature and newly established hedgerows to weedy, minimally managed "control" areas.

“Mature hedgerows and controls are located adjacent to processing tomato and we are assessing pest control and pollination in fields,” Morandin said. “In newly established hedgerows, monitoring began before restoration--in 2006--allowing us to examine beneficial arthropod reassembly over time. Additionally we are assessing source/concentrator dynamics of restoration and modeling economic costs and benefits of restoration.”

Initial data, she said, suggests that beneficial insect populations can be reassembled with native plant habitat creation. “Examination of ecosystem service benefits and economic analyses are ongoing.”

Since becoming a National Science Foundation postdoctoral visiting scholar at UC Berkeley in 2009, she has pursued the general topic of restoration of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. She served as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley from 2007 to 2009, when she researched  the re-establishment of beneficial insect populations in degraded agricultural landscapes.

Morandin received her bachelor’s of science degree in ecology and evolution from the University of Western Ontario, London; her master’s degree in zoology from the University of Western Ontario and her doctorate in biology from Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia.