Relevance of the ecological traits of parasitoid wasps and nectariferous plants for conservation biological control: A hybrid meta-analysis

Pingyang Zhu, Xusong Zheng, Gang Xie, Guihua Chen, Zhongxian Lu, Geoffrey Gurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)



Ecosystem services are key to human survival. In agriculture, they offer potential to intensify production while reducing reliance on hazardous inputs, including pesticides. Nectar plants can nourish natural enemies of pests and thereby promote the ecosystem service of biological control. To date, however, the selection of optimal plants has been reliant on laborious testing of multiple candidate species for use in each new agroecosystem. We report a hybrid meta-analysis of published literature, employing Bayesian network analysis.


The hybrid meta-analysis identified the particular plant and parasitoid traits that were most predictive of promoted or suppressed parasitoid longevity. Integrating trait effects identified a combination of plant-parasitoid traits that had the highest impact on parasitoid longevity: compound umbel or raceme inflorescence form and shallow corolla, together with high potential fecundity of the parasitoid.


Unlike earlier analyses focusing on taxonomic categories, we analyzed effect sizes in relation to the ecological traits of parasitoids and plants. This generated the first generalizable guidelines for selecting nectar plants as well as appropriate parasitoid targets for the enhancement of biological control. Within the guidelines, optimal outcomes resulted when plants with compound umbel or raceme inflorescences and shallow corollas were combined with fecund parasitoids. More widely, this type of ecological trait-based meta-analysis opens a new avenue for optimizing the delivery of other types of ecosystem services. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1881-1892
Number of pages12
JournalPest Management Science
Issue number5
Early online date15 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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