Project properties

Title Does strip cropping affect root herbivory and natural biological control?
Group Entomology, Laboratory of
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Luuk Croijmans and Peter Karssemeijer
Examiner(s) Marcel Dicke
Contact info luuk.croijmans@wur.nl and peter.karssemeijer@wur.nl
Begin date 2020/04/01
End date 2020/10/01
Description In a world in which climate change and food security are taking more prominent roles by the day, there is a great need to increase agricultural sustainability. One way of going about this is increasing diversity in agricultural fields, for instance by strip cropping. In this agricultural practice, crops are alternated in strips, thus increasing plant diversity while maintaining high yields. While this practice is very promising in terms of yield, much less is known about how it affects insect herbivores and their natural enemies. In particular, there is a lack of knowledge in the effect of cropping practices on root herbivory.

In this thesis project, you will study the root herbivore Delia radicum and its natural enemies in a strip cropping field trial. Furthermore, you will monitor the aboveground herbivore community to see whether this is a good predictor for belowground herbivory.

Do you want to spend your summer out in the fields discovering the wonderful world of plant-insect interactions? Then this might be the right project for you!

This work involves a lot of field work, which could include (depending on your exact research questions) monitoring of insects, inspecting parasitism by rearing collected larvae/pupae or dissection, pitfall traps, egg predation assays, oviposition tests, etc.

Used skills Literature review, field work, wet laboratory work (processing data collected from the field), data analysis, report writing.
Requirements For doing a MSc-thesis or internship at Entomology, the following requirements apply: ENT-30806 + a second ENT-course (preferably ENT-30306 or ENT-50806 or ENT-53806). As an alternative for the second ENT-course, PHP-30806 or BHE-30306 can be selected.
Note: these requirements do not apply for MBI students; MBI students should check the requirements for doing an ENT MSc-thesis or internship in the study programme of their specialisation.