The Hungry Tent Caterpillar: Explaining Population Cycles in this Local Pest

March 19, 2013

  Dr. Jenny Cory, the Thelma Finlayson Chair in Biological Control, and Professor in SFU's Department of Biological Sciences will present this talk at 12 noon in the Halpern Centre.  This is the third of the Spring 2013 SFURA seminar series.  All members of the SFU community are welcome to attend these events. The talks are free and no registration is required.

    Every 8 to 10 years western tent caterpillars inundate southwestern BC, and in particular the Southern Gulf Islands, where they attack apple, cherry and alder trees.  In between these outbreaks, tents are rare and hard to find.  What causes these boom and bust population cycles?  Dr. Cory has been monitoring tent caterpillars for over 10 years and, in particular, studying a viral disease, the "Ebola virus" of caterpillars, that ends the outbreaks.  She will discuss the biology of this species and cover some of the highlights of the research that she is doing to try to unravel their fascinating behaviour and ecology.

    Dr Cory’s main work revolves around pest management using biological controls, particularly pathogens.