Title

Avian grape predation at vineyards: Evaluating fruit preferences and non-invasive deterrent methods

Standing

Graduate (Masters)

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Fostering Sustainable Industry

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Stephanie Doucet

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Most fruit colours evolved to attract seed dispersers which causes problems in agricultural areas where bird predation costs growers thousands of dollars per hectare annually. My work quantified avian damage in local vineyards in Essex County, Ontario and determined whether intensity of avian grape predation corresponds to fruit colour and/or sugar content. In this study, we observed the amount of grapes taken and damaged by both bird and non-bird related sources (e.g. mold, insects), and we observed the change of numerous grape features, such as grape colour, size, sugar content, over the growing season. Our preliminary analyses indicate that grape colour and the habitats surrounding a given grape patch affect the level of avian predation, and that various grape types change differently in regards to hue, brightness, and chroma. My research has both evolutionary and agricultural components, in that it aids our understanding of what drives avian fruit colour preference and how particular fruits co-evolved to become more attractive to these species, while also helping lend insight to which grape cultivars are more at risk of avian predation and when the grapes will be most targeted by avian grape predators during ripening.

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Avian grape predation at vineyards: Evaluating fruit preferences and non-invasive deterrent methods

Most fruit colours evolved to attract seed dispersers which causes problems in agricultural areas where bird predation costs growers thousands of dollars per hectare annually. My work quantified avian damage in local vineyards in Essex County, Ontario and determined whether intensity of avian grape predation corresponds to fruit colour and/or sugar content. In this study, we observed the amount of grapes taken and damaged by both bird and non-bird related sources (e.g. mold, insects), and we observed the change of numerous grape features, such as grape colour, size, sugar content, over the growing season. Our preliminary analyses indicate that grape colour and the habitats surrounding a given grape patch affect the level of avian predation, and that various grape types change differently in regards to hue, brightness, and chroma. My research has both evolutionary and agricultural components, in that it aids our understanding of what drives avian fruit colour preference and how particular fruits co-evolved to become more attractive to these species, while also helping lend insight to which grape cultivars are more at risk of avian predation and when the grapes will be most targeted by avian grape predators during ripening.