A generic individual-based spatially explicit model as a novel tool for investigating insect-plant interactions: A case study of the behavioural ecology of frugivorous Tephritidae

Wang, Ming, Cribb, Bronwen, Clarke, Anthony R., & Hanan, Jim (2016) A generic individual-based spatially explicit model as a novel tool for investigating insect-plant interactions: A case study of the behavioural ecology of frugivorous Tephritidae. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0151777.

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Computational modelling of mechanisms underlying processes in the real world can be of great value in understanding complex biological behaviours. Uptake in general biology and ecology has been rapid. However, it often requires specific data sets that are overly costly in time and resources to collect. The aim of the current study was to test whether a generic behavioural ecology model constructed using published data could give realistic outputs for individual species. An individual-based model was developed using the Pattern-Oriented Modelling (POM) strategy and protocol, based on behavioural rules associated with insect movement choices. Frugivorous Tephritidae (fruit flies) were chosen because of economic significance in global agriculture and the multiple published data sets available for a range of species. The Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), Bactrocera tryoni, was identified as a suitable individual species for testing. Plant canopies with modified architecture were used to run predictive simulations. A field study was then conducted to validate our model predictions on how plant architecture affects fruit flies’ behaviours. Characteristics of plant architecture such as different shapes, e.g., closed-canopy and vase-shaped, affected fly movement patterns and time spent on host fruit. The number of visits to host fruit also differed between the edge and centre in closed-canopy plants. Compared to plant architecture, host fruit has less contribution to effects on flies’ movement patterns. The results from this model, combined with our field study and published empirical data suggest that placing fly traps in the upper canopy at the edge should work best. Such a modelling approach allows rapid testing of ideas about organismal interactions with environmental substrates in silico rather than in vivo, to generate new perspectives. Using published data provides a saving in time and resources. Adjustments for specific questions can be achieved by refinement of parameters based on targeted experiments.

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2 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 95496
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Fruit flies, Plant canopies, Bactrocera tryoni, Plant architecture, Computational modelling, Movement patterns
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151777
ISSN: 1932-6203
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Wang et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Deposited On: 11 May 2016 22:47
Last Modified: 13 May 2016 00:23

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