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Effects of terrestrial pollutants on insect parasitoids

Butler, Casey D., Beckage, Nancy E., Trumble, John T.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2009 v.28 no.6 pp. 1111-1119
pollutants, parasitoids, phytophagous insects, agroecosystems, environmental exposure, meta-analysis
Parasitoids are important organisms in the regulation of insect herbivores in natural, urban, and agricultural ecosystems. The impact of pollutants acting on parasitoids has not been extensively reviewed. This prompted us to propose a falsifiable null hypothesis (pollutants have no effects on parasitoids) and two alternative hypotheses (pollution negatively or positively affects parasitoids) to assess in the available literature the effects of pollutants acting on parasitoids. We found 26 studies examining 39 biological systems that met our criteria for inclusion. Of these studies, 18 of the 39 biological systems (46.2%) supported the null hypothesis while 18 (46.2%) supported the first alternative hypothesis in which pollutants exhibited negative effects on parasitoids. Only a small percentage of the studies (7.6%, 3 of 39) supported the second alternative hypothesis suggesting that pollutants had positive effects on parasitoids. We provide a synthesis of the available data by pollution type, summarize trends for different pollutants, and suggest future areas of research.