Paul K. Abram, Ph.D.

Image Paul K. Abram
Research Scientist, Biological Control of Insect Pests

My research program is focused on the biology, behaviour, and ecology of insect predators and parasitoids, which are fascinating and biodiverse organisms that help to sustainably manage many insect crop pests.  The biological control that these so-called "natural enemies" provide is a public good that reduces our reliance on less environmentally-friendly pest control methods. 

The main goals of my research are to develop, test, and implement theory and methods for: (i) measuring the biological control impact of parasitoids on invasive crop pests; (ii) forecasting the potential for non-target ecological effects of introduced parasitoids on native Canadian fauna; and (iii) improving the scientific basis for incorporating biological control into pest management programs.

Current research and/or projects

  • Developing biological control programs for invasive agricultural insect pests (spotted wing Drosophila, brown marmorated stink bug, Japanese beetle) with natural enemies (parasitoid wasps and flies).
  • Assessing of ecological risks and benefits of accidentally introduced natural enemies that attack invasive crop pests.
  • Understanding the basic biology and ecology of parasitoids, and the factors that affect their efficacy as biological control agents. 

Research and/or project statements

Recent publications:

For full publication list, see Google Scholar page.

G.H. Heimpel, P.K. Abram, C. Causton, S. Celis, M. Coll, I.C.W. Hardy, M. Mangel, N. Mills, and M. Segoli (in press). A benefit-risk analysis for biological control introductions based on the protection of native biodiversity. Ecological Applications (in press)

 

P.K. Abram, M.T. Franklin, J. Brodeur, J.S. Cory, A. McConkey, K. Wyckhuys, and G.H. Heimpel (2024). Weighing consequences of action and inaction in invasive insect management. One Earth. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2024.04.013

 

T.D. Gariepy, P.K. Abram, C. Adams, D. Beal, E. Beers, J. Beetle, D. Biddinger, G. Brind’Amour, A. Bruin, M. Buffington, H. Burrack, K.M. Daane, K. Demchak, P. Fanning, A. Gillett, K. Hamby, K. Hoelmer, B. Hogg, R. Isaacs, B. Johnson, J.C. Lee, H.K. Levensen, G. Loeb, A. Lovero, J.M. Milnes, K.R. Park, P. Prade, K. Regan, J.M. Renkema, C. Rodriguez-Saona, S. Neupane, C. Jones, A. Sial, P. Smytheman, A. Stout, S. Van Timmeren, V.M. Walton, J.K. Wilson, and X. Wang (2024) Adventive establishment of Leptopilina japonica (Hymenoptera: Figitidae) in North America and development of a multiplex PCR assay to identify key parasitoids of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Neobiota doi: http://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.93.121219

 

K.R. Hopper, X. Wang, M. Kenis, M.L. Seehausen, P.K. Abram, K.M. Daane, M.L. Buffington, K.A. Hoelmer, B.F. Kingham, O. Shevchenko, and E. Bernberg (2024). Genome divergence and reproductive incompatibility among populations of Ganaspis near brasiliensis. G3: Genes/Genomes/Genetics doi: http://doi.org/10.1093/g3journal/jkae090   

 

C. Capkob, J. Thiessen, L. Harach, J. Fraser, M.T. Franklin and P.K. Abram (2024). A method for sampling parasitized Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) puparia from soil. Journal of Insect Science 14:1-8.

 

Y. Uriel, P.K. Abram, J. Thiessen and M.T. Franklin (2023). A binomial sampling method for estimating the density of blueberry aphid, Ericaphis fimbriata (Hemiptera: Aphididae), in commercial highbush blueberry. The Canadian Entomologist 155: e33.

 

T.D. Nelson, Y. Uriel, P.K. Abram, C.E. Moffat, J. Sherwood, J. Renkema, D. Moreau and M.T. Franklin (2023). Spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae), exhibits large-scale spatial genetic structure across Canada but not fruit host-associated genetic structure. The Canadian Entomologist 155: e37.

 

A.E. McPhersona, P.K. Abram, C.I. Curtis, E.R. Wannop, J. Dudzic and S.J. Perlman (2023). Dynamic changes in Wolbachia infection over a single generation of Drosophila suzukii, across a wide range of resource availability. Ecology & Evolution 13: e10722.

 

J.L. Frasera, P.K. Abram and M. Dorais (2023). Supplemental LED lighting improves plant growth without impeding biological control of aphids with parasitoids in a tri-trophic greenhouse system. Journal of Pest Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-023-01703-8

 

M. Segoli, P.K. Abram, J. Ellers, I.C.W. Hardy, G. Greenbaum, G.E. Heimpel, T. Keasar, P.J. Ode, A. Sadeh and E. Wajnberg (2023). Trait-based approaches to predicting biological control success: challenges and prospects. Trends in Ecology & Evolution https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2023.04.008

 

P.K. Abram*, E. Guerra-Grenier*, J. Brodeur, C. Capkob, M. Ferreira Santos Aquino, E.H. Beers, M.C. Blassioli-Moraes, M. Borges, M.F. Cingolani, A. Cusumano, P. De Clercq, C.A. Fernandez, T.D. Gariepy, T. Haye, K.A. Hoelmer, R.A. Laumann, M. Lietti, J.E. McPherson, E. Punschke, T.E. Saunders, J-P. Zhang and I.C.W. Hardy (2023). Protective geometry and reproductive anatomy as candidate determinants of clutch size variation in pentatomid bugs. The American Naturalist 202: E104–E120.

 

M. Gaudreaua, M.T. Souza, F. LeBlanc, J. Brodeur and P.K. Abram (2023). Attenuation of ultraviolet (UV) radiation does not impede host location in egg parasitoids with positive UV phototaxis. Ecological Entomology https://doi.org/10.1111/een.13235

 

P.K. Abram*, T.D. Nelson*, V. Marshall, T.D. Gariepy, T. Haye, J. Zhang, T. Hueppelsheuser, S. Acheampong and C.E. Moffat (2023). Genetic relationships among laboratory lines of the egg parasitoid Trissolcus japonicus from native and adventive populations. NeoBiota 82: 145–161.

 

N.G. Earley, P.K. Abram, R.G. Lalonde and C.E. Moffat (2023). Ovipositor characteristics differ between two parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Figitidae) of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera:  Drosophildae) in an adventive landscape. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 95: 13–30.

 

J.A. Harvey, K. Tougeron, R. Gols, R. Heinen, M. Abarca, P.K. Abram et al. [+ >70 authors]. (2023). Scientists’ warning on climate change and insects. Ecological Monographs 93: e1553.

 

P.K. Abram, T. Haye, P. Clarke, E. Groveb, J. Thiessen and T.D. Gariepy (2023). Partial refuges from biological control due to intraspecific variation in protective host traits. Ecological Applications https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2796

 

Q. Geissmann, P.K. Abram, D. Wu, C. H. Haney and J. Carrillo (2022). Sticky Pi is a high-frequency smart trap that enables the study of insect circadian activity under natural conditions. PLoS Biology 20: e3001689.

 

A. Tena, J. P. R. Bouvet and P.K. Abram (2022). Resting ecology of parasitoids in the field: safe in a bed and breakfast? Animal Behaviour 190: 11–21.

 

C.H. Lue, P. K. Abram, J. Hrcek, M.L. Buffington and P.P. Staniczenko (2022). Metabarcoding and applied ecology with hyper‐diverse organisms: recommendations for biological control research. Molecular Ecology doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16677

 

R.L. Paul, P.K. Abram and J.C. Lee (2022). Host patch quality increases parasitoid locomotor activity despite risk of egg limitation. Ecological Entomology, 47: 810–821.

 

M. Gaudreaua, J. Brodeur and P.K. Abram (2022). Adult female exposure to mild ultraviolet radiation reduces longevity but not egg load in two parasitoid wasps. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 170: 965–972.

 

E. H. Beers, D. Beal, P. Smytheman, P.K. Abram, R. Schmidt-Jeffris, E. Moretti, C. Looney, C.-H. Lue and M.L. Buffington (2022). First records of adventive populations of the parasitoids Ganaspis brasiliensis and Leptopilina japonica in the United States. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 91: 11–25.

 

P.K. Abram, M.T. Franklin, T. Hueppelsheuser, J. Carrillo, E. Grove, P. Eraso, S. Acheampong, L. Keery, P. Girod, M. Tsuruda, M. Clausen, M.L. Buffington and C.E. Moffat (2022). Adventive larval parasitoids reconstruct their close association with spotted-wing drosophila in the invaded North American range. Environmental Entomology 51: 670–678.

 

P.G. Mason, T. Dancau, P.K. Abram, C. Noronha, P.L. Dixon, C.K. Parsons, M.H. Bahar, A.M.R Bennett, J. Fernandez-Triana, A.M. Brauner, P. Clarke, J. Thiessen, D.R. Gillespie and T. Haye (2022). The parasitoid complex of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Linneaus) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), in Canada: impact and status. The Canadian Entomologist 154: e12.

 

P.K. Abram, X. Wang, T. Hueppelsheuser, M. T. Franklin, K. M. Daane, J. C. Lee, C.-H. Lue, P. Girod, J. Carrillo, W. H. L. Wonga, R. R. Kula, M.W. Gates, B. N. Hogg, C. E. Moffat, K. A. Hoelmer, A. A. Sial and M. L. Buffington (2022). A coordinated sampling and identification methodology for larval parasitoids of spotted-wing drosophila. Journal of Economic Entomology 922–942.

Education and awards

  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Université de Montréal (2016)
  • MSc, Biology, Carleton University (2012)
  • BSc (Honours), Biology, Queen's University (2009)

Key publications

  1. P. K. Abram (2024). Keeping importation biological control as part of the invasive species management toolbox . Invasive Species Council of BC Annual Meeting (INVASIVES 2024), New Westminster, BC, February 28, 2024 (oral presentation).

    2024 - View publication details

  2. Moffat, C.E. et al. 2024. Federal update on current targets for biological control in British Columbia. Invasives 2024 ISCBC Annual Forum and AGM New Westminster 2024/02/26 - 2024/02/29.

    2024 - View publication details

  3. P.K. Abram, M. Franklin, T. Hueppelsheuser, and J. Carrillo (2024). Update on parasitic wasps attacking spotted wing Drosophila larvae in BC. BC Berries Research Review, February 23, 2024 (virtual oral extension presentation).

    2024 - View publication details

  4. T. Hueppelsheuser and P.K. Abram (2024). Emerging pests and biocontrol agents in light of climate change. Centre for Organizational Governance in Agriculture, BC Council of Marketing Boards. February 15, 2024 (invited virtual oral extension presentation).

    2024 - View publication details

  5. P.K. Abram (2023). Biological control as a key component of sustainable pest management systems: successes and complexity. University of British Columbia, Insects in Agroecosystems course, February 13, 2024 (invited course lecture).

    2024 - View publication details

  6. P.K. Abram and T. Hueppelsheuser (2024). Stink bugs in the greenhouse. Pacific Agriculture Show, LMHIA Grower’s Short Course, Abbotsford, BC, January 26, 2024 (oral presentation).

    2024 - View publication details

  7. P.K. Abram, J. Thiessen and V. Makovetski (2023). Update on Istocheta aldrichi research in Agassiz. 1st Japanese Beetle Biological Control Working Group Meeting, December 6, 2023 (virtual oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  8. V. Makovetski, J. Thiessen and P.K. Abram (2023). Research releases of a specialized parasitoid fly against Japanese Beetle in British Columbia. Japanese Beetle Response in BC Wrap-up Meeting, Burnaby, BC, December 1, 2023 (oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  9. J.L. Fraser*, M. Canovas, J.-F. Cormier, T. Galstian, P.K. Abram and M. Dorais (2023). Lumière sur les ennemis naturels: synthèse sur l’usage optimal des DELs afin de promouvoir parasitoïdes, prédateurs et performances végétales. Greenhouse Horticulture Growers Conference, Quebec Reference Center for Agriculture and Agri-food (CRAAQ), November 14, 2023 (poster).

    2023 - View publication details

  10. M. Canovas*, J-F. Cormier, T. Galstian, P.K. Abram and M. Dorais (2023). Choosing light for a perfect date? Light spectra have different impacts on mating and developmental performances of the generalist beneficial Orius insidiosus (Say). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, National Harbor, USA, November, 2023 (virtual oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  11. J. Carrillo* and P.K. Abram. (2023). Journal of Economic Entomology reader’s choice winner: A coordinated sampling and identification methodology for larval parasitoids of spotted-wing drosophila. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, National Harbor, MD, USA, November 5-8, 2023 (oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  12. V. Makovetski, J. Thiessen and P.K. Abram (2023). Testing the potential of biological control as part of a multi-tactic eradication strategy for Japanese Beetle in BC. Western Forum on Pest Management, Kelowna, BC, October 25-27, 2023 (oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  13. M. Canovas*, J-F. Cormier, T. Galstian, P.K. Abram and M. Dorais (2023). Shedding light on predators! Choosing the right spectra promotes Orius insidiosus performance, from predation to mating and development. Canadian Greenhouse Conference, Niagara Falls, ON, October 23 (virtual oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  14. A. Vossen*, P.K. Abram, J. Brodeur and A. Firlej (2023). Démystifier l’induction de la diapause des populations adventices de parasitoïdes de la drosophile à ailes tachetées en Colombie Britannique. 150e Réunion Annuelle Société d’Entomologie du Québec, Montreal, QC, October 19-20, 2023 (oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  15. Parent, J.-P., Doyon, J., Abram, P. 2023. Vibrations spatiotemporelles: La Lutte physique vibrationnelle de la plus longue durée et à plus grande échelle. 150e réunion annuelle de la Société d’entomologie du Québec, Montréal, Canada, 19-20 octobre

    2023 - View publication details

  16. Demers, N., Brodeur, J., Abram, P.K., Parent, J.-P. 2023. Les effets de la vibration du substrat sur la colonisation et le succès reproducteur du puceron vert du pêcher Myzus persicae. 150e réunion annuelle de la Société d’entomologie du Québec, Montréal, Canada, 19-20 octobre

    2023 - View publication details

  17. M. Canovas*, J-F. Cormier, T. Galstian, P.K. Abram and M. Dorais (2023). De l’assiette au flirt: quelle est l’ambiance lumineuse parfaite pour une ‘’première date’’ lorsque l’on est un insecte? Le spectre lumineux influence les performances de prédation, de reproduction et de développement de l’ennemi naturel Orius insidiosus (Say). Conférence à l’Institut National d’Optique, Québec, QC, October 17-18, 2023 (oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  18. Parent, J.-P., Doyon, J., Abram, P. 2023. Vibrational waves through space and time : Scaling up vibrational pest control of aphids in both duration and size. 2023 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of Canada and Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, 15-18 octobre

    2023 - View publication details

  19. P. K. Abram* and P.G. Mason (2023). Benefits and risks of biological control in North America. International Organization for Biological Control-WPRS/IOBC Global working group meeting, Averio, Portugal, September 11-15, 2023 (invited oral presentation).

    2023 - View publication details

  20. Boisclair-Joly, S., Fernandez-Triana, J.L., Abram, P.K., & M.T. Franklin. Canadian agricultural pests and their natural enemies: first steps in compiling a compendium of VIPs (Very Important Parasitoids). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of British Columbia. Sept 15-16, 2023.

    2023 - View publication details

Research facility

6947 Highway 7
PO Box 1000
Agassiz, BC V0M 1A2
Canada

Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor, Université Laval, Département de Phytologie
  • Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, Department of Biology

Language

English
French