Project properties

Title Improve biocontrol of insects through crop diversification
Group Entomology, Laboratory of
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Gabriele Bolletta, Erik Poelman
Examiner(s) Erik Poelman, Marcel Dicke
Contact info
Begin date 2024/05/01
End date 2026/05/01
Description Plant diversity plays a crucial role in suppressing pest pressure on crops by supporting the populations of natural enemies. The presence of different plant species in the ecosystem offers alternative food sources to beneficial insects such as floral and extrafloral nectar, alternative prey or hosts, and provides a more favorable microclimate. Unfortunately, agricultural systems are characterized by large monoculture with low plant diversity to facilitate mechanization. This leads to inhospitable habitats for natural enemies and is associated with pest outbreaks. Strip cropping represents an innovative solution to enhance ecosystem services, while allowing mechanization of farming practices, increasing crop diversity in the agro-ecosystem. In this project you will assess the effects of strip cropping on biocontrol by measuring predation and parasitism on the egg and larval stages of several pests, to discover the effects of crop diversification on the biological control of insects.
Used skills Biocontrol, Agroecology, insect behavior, tri-trophic interactions.
Requirements For doing a BSc-thesis at Entomology, there are no requirements for specific courses.
For doing a MSc-thesis or Research Practice 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.
For doing an Internship, the following requirements apply: ENT-30806.
1) these requirements do not apply for MBI students;
2) MBI students should check the requirements for doing an ENT MSc-thesis, Research Practice or Internship in the study programme of their specialisation.