Vegetable crops suffer attack from a range of insect pests and pathogens. The abundance of these pests is affected by many biotic and abiotic factors. Understanding of the interactions between these factors in vegetable crop systems can facilitate development and implementation of effective integrated pest management programs that promote production efficiency and products safety.

    We study the tripartite interactions between insect vectors, plant viruses and plants, and the multitrophic interactions between plants, phytophagous insects and natural enemies. Currently we focus on the invasive whiteflies and the viruses they vector, because these insects and plant viruses are among the most important pests of vegetable and many other crops in China and worldwide.

  • Systematics of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci species complex … More

    The worldwide distribution and extensive genetic diversity of the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, has long been recognized. However, the levels of separation within B. tabaci and the nomenclature of the various genetic groups have been a subject of debate. We integrate behavioural, genetic, and molecular phylogenetic approaches to discern species level separations within this complex.

  • Plant mediated whitefly-begomovirus interaction… More

    Plant-mediated interactions between begomoviruses and whiteflies exert important influences on the population dynamics of vectors and the epidemiology of plant diseases. Does the infection of plants by the viruses affect the performance of the vector whiteflies? Do the whiteflies increase their abundance more rapidly on virus-infected plants than on uninfected plants? What are the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying these interactions?

  • Whitefly-plant interactions… More

    Whiteflies in the Bemisia tabaci complex vary widely in their host plant range, and the invasive B and Q whiteflies seem to have a much wider range of host plants than the indigenous species. What factors determine the differences in host plant range between invasive and indigenous whiteflies? How do different whiteflies respond to plant defences? Do the whitefly endosymbionts play a role in host plant utilization?

  • Whitefly-begomovirus interaction...More

    Within the whitefly species complex, different cryptic species may transmit the same begomovirus with different efficiency, and the efficiency of a given whitefly species may vary for transmitting different begomoviruses. The level of midgut penetration of begomoviruses affects their acquisition and transmission by different whitefly species, and specific cells in the primary salivary glands of the whitefly control retention and transmission of begomoviruses.

  • Biological control and management of whiteflies and other vegetable insect pests

    Development and implementation of effective integrated pest management (IPM) systems can reduce insecticide input and promote production efficiency and products safely. What can we do to enhance naturally occurring biological control in the field? How can we develop IPM systems that are acceptable to farmers? How can we help the extension service and framers to implement IPM systems in practice?