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Data from: Changes in plant architecture in Brazilian peppertree damaged by the biological control agent, Pseudophilothrips ichini Hood (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae)

posted on 2023-12-14, 22:50 authored by DALE HALBRITTERDALE HALBRITTER, Eutychus Kariuki, Gregory Wheeler, Min Rayamajhi, Carey R. Minteer, Quentin ReadQuentin Read

These data come from a roughly 4-year study on the growth response of a highly invasive woody plant to the damage induced by its biological control agent (an insect) and to soil fertilizer levels. The study design was an interrupted time series in which data were collected from plants for 2 years ("pre"), agents were introduced, and data collection continued for 2 years with sustained agent releases ("post"). Each month, stem tip counts and other measurements were collected from roughly 200 plants: 100 in each of two garden plots (IPRL and UF/IRREC). As plants grew larger (eventually to ~250 cm tall), data collection was spaced to roughly every 2 months and some replicates within each treatment were dropped. In addition to the "interruption" of introducing the agents, the other treatment was the addition of various concentrations of liquid fertilizer to the soil throughout the study. While there were no control plants that did not receive insects, each plant was followed over the course of the pre-post design experiment and Bayesian mixed modelling was used to interpret the effect of releasing the insect on how plant growth parameters changed over time and under different fertilizer levels. We have included raw data in .csv and .xlsx formats, one set for each garden plot as plots were analyzed separately. The Excel files have notes in the header column providing more information about each variable. However, not all variables were analyzed in the published study. The R code is also attached, which runs the Bayesian analyses for each plot and each response variable of interest in the published study. Raw data are also provided for soil and foliar nitrogen content. Soil nitrogen was analyzed at both plots, but foliar nitrogen was only analyzed at one of the plots (IPRL).


South Florida Water Management District

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission



Data contact name

Halbritter, Dale A.

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Intended use

These data can be used as an example of how to analyze the effect of a treatment that takes time to cause change after implementation but where there are circumstances preventing you from having control groups. The data also show the seasonality of growth patterns for an invasive plant.

Use limitations

These data should be used with caution when inferring the overall impact the agents might have on the target plant in the wild. Biological control agents were released in this experiment at densities typically greater than those observed in now established field populations in Florida (which we did not know at the start of the experiment as the first wild releases of the agent were only just beginning). While the heavy damage inflicted to some of these experimental plants has been observed at comparable levels in field plants, there are many cases where field damage is much less.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • monthly


  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage

(25.95725, -80.40788) (27.43180, -80.41094)

Geographic location - description

The experimental plots were in southern Florida: USDA-ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory (IPRL) in Fort Lauderdale, FL (25.95725, -80.40788) University of Florida Indian River Research and Education Center (UF/IRREC) in Fort Pierce, FL (27.43180, -80.41094) For greater scope in the U.S., the invasive plant studied is found in most of Florida where it doesn't freeze in the winter, coastal southern Texas, coastal southern California, and Hawaii. Each garden plot was maintained on the grounds of the research centers listed above. Plots each contained roughly 100 plants that were spaced 2 meters apart in eight rows of 13 plants.

ISO Topic Category

  • biota
  • environment

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

plant architecture; Schinus terebinthifolia; biological control agents; Phlaeothripidae; invasive species; insects; soil; fertilizer rates; experimental design; time series analysis; Bayesian theory; plant growth; leaf nitrogen content; nitrogen; statistical models; mortality; plants (botany); Florida

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 304

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public