Slugs 2020

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Slugs 2020 is a project aiming to generate new knowledge about the factors determining the spatiotemporal distribution in arable fields of grey slug (Deroceras reticulatum), a major pest in the UK. The project will develop a comprehensive framework and methodology for more reliable and accurate slug monitoring. It will create the scientifically-based, rigorously established, economically viable approach to reveal the distribution by surface traps in the context of the Integrated Pest Management.

Slugs 2020

Identification of factors that determine the spatial distribution of populations is a fundamental problem of population ecology. The main objective of this project is to establish and explain the spatial and temporal distribution of slugs in arable fields in the context of pest management by relating it to the responses of slug locomotory behaviour to biotic and abiotic factors. Our main hypothesis is that the vertical movement of slugs in the upper soil horizons, in particular its response to the soil properties and ambient weather conditions, is a pivotal factor that affects the observed horizontal distribution of slugs on the soil surface. Our second hypothesis is that the horizontal density-dependent slug movement (of which there is empirical evidence) strongly affects the formation of the patches of high population density and the stability of the slug distribution. These hypotheses will be checked and refined by using a combination of laboratory experiments, field work and simulation approaches. This will lead to a predictive, evidence-based theoretical framework to describe the slug distribution in the agricultural environment. Such a framework in its turn will support the optimisation of the pest management actions thus decreasing the use of slugs pellets and contributing to the development of sustainable pest management as a component of sustainable crop production.

This is a collaborative project involving three universities: the University of Leicester, Harper Adams University and the University of Birmingham.

More information available soon.

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