Biocontrol and Crop Protection Centre
Theories of population dynamics and evolutionary dynamics of species interactions are extremely important for the development of successful and sustainable biological control programs, because the dynamics of biological systems change in response to interactions within the system and with the environment.
The research department Evolution and Population Biology at IBED is one of the few research groups that uses these theories to develop biological control methods, and aims at advocating this as a standard practice in this research area. Importantly, changing EU legislation regarding pesticide usage has created an enormous incentive for plant breeders to search for plant resistance to insects and mites, using both traditional breeding techniques and GMOs. However, theory predicts that when crops become more resistant, biological control will increasingly fail. Providing solutions for this ‘’problem of the next two decades” fits neatly into our research niche. Finally, sustainable pest management is urgently needed in agriculture, as 20% of crops are lost due to arthropod pests. We will target three questions to address this urgency: (i) How do plant defences affect interactions in communities of plant-inhabiting herbivores and their predators, (ii) what is the effect of food web interactions on dynamics of pests and natural enemies in biological control systems, and (iii) how can chemical communication systems be exploited for sustainable strategies for crop protection and disease management.
dr. A.R.M. (Arne) Janssen
dr. A.T. (Astrid) Groot
dr. M. (Merijn) Kant
dr. T.B.S. (Thomas) Van Leeuwen
dr. J.M. (Juan) Alba Cano
dr. I.M. (Isabel) Smallegange
dr. ir. M. (Michiel) van Wijk