Benefits of golf course naturalized areas for biological control and pollinator conservation

  • Potter, Daniel (PI)
  • Dobbs, Emily (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


This project seeks to document two underappreciated benefits of naturalized areas on golf courses (GC) – as refuges for natural enemies that provide biological control services to in-play areas, and as sanctuaries for native pollinators whose populations are declining due to habitat loss. Concepts drawn from sustainable agriculture will be applied to GC to test the hypothesis that “islands” of non-mowed high grass or endemic native flowering plants support predatory and parasitic insects that help to suppress pests in nearby mowed turf. The work will combine an extensive survey of beneficial insect biodiversity in the different GC habitats with direct assessment of bio-control services using sentinel prey along spatial transects extending from naturalized areas into adjacent turf. Objective 2 proposes the first Operation Pollinator for Golf Courses study in North America. OPGC, initiated in Great Britain and now being implemented on hundreds of European GC, seeks to reverse the decline of beneficial pollinators by creating pollen and nectar-rich habitats in out of play areas. We’ll establish custom wildflower mixes adapted to the US transitional climatic zone in replicated plots on five GC and the UK Turf Research facility, evaluate them for ease of establishment and attractiveness to bumblebees, butterflies, and other desirable species, teach educational workshops at the study sites, and develop educational materials to promote the benefits of GC for pollinator conservation.
Effective start/end date2/1/131/31/15


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