Post-dispersal seed predation of non-target weeds in arable crops
Mauchline, A. L., Watson, S.J., Brown, V.K. and Froud-Williams, R. J. (2005) Post-dispersal seed predation of non-target weeds in arable crops. Weed Research, 45 (2). pp. 157-164. ISSN 0043-1737
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3180.2004.00443.x
Field experiments were conducted to quantify the natural levels of post-dispersal seed predation of arable weed species in spring barley and to identify the main groups of seed predators. Four arable weed species were investigated that were of high biodiversity value, yet of low to moderate competitive ability with the crop. These were Chenopodium album, Sinapis arvensis, Stellaria media and Polygonum aviculare. Exclusion treatments were used to allow selective access to dishes of seeds by different predator groups. Seed predation was highest early in the season, followed by a gradual decline in predation over the summer for all species. All species were taken by invertebrates. The activity of two phytophagous carabid genera showed significant correlations with seed predation levels. However, in general carabid activity was not related to seed predation and this is discussed in terms of the mainly polyphagous nature of many Carabid species that utilized the seed resource early in the season, but then switched to carnivory as prey populations increased. The potential relevance of post-dispersal seed predation to the development of weed management systems that maximize biological control through conservation and optimize herbicide use, is discussed.