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Parasitoid life history evolution and climate change


The chair holder is the Prof. van Alphen (Univ- Leiden, The Netherlands) who wants to come for three years at the UMR ECOBIO for 3 years. He has more than 150 international publications and 3000 citations. For 2007, the UMR ECOBIO, in accord with the regional policy (decrease of water pollution), aims to regroup researchers on the thematic of biological control by insect parasitoids.

The research project concerns the fact that modern global change at regional scales is predicted to alter species distribution s, life histories, community composition, and ecosystem function. Concerning the effect of the climate, in ecosystems, tritrophic interactions (plants-herbivorous insects- natural enemies) result from long co-evolved processes under well-defined climatic conditions. Climate change will influence the biology of the interacting species and the stability of these systems.

Within this framework, the present project, based on two food-web model (wheat, related pests (aphids) and their parasitoids and larval paras itoids of Drosophila and their Drosophila hosts) aims to do:
(1) A comparison of closely related parasitoid species and their host originating from different climatic zones
(2) A comparison of life-history traits in populations of a particular parasitoid sp ecies and its host collected along a climatic gradient in Europe
(3) Selection experiments on life history traits in the laboratory
(4) Measurements of the energy cost of diapause in several host and parasitoids species as well as winter mortality under different temperatures.

The training programme implies 6 complementary aspects, and will take 70% of the time of the chair holder:
1. Courses at the Master degree (5%),
2. Involvement in PhDs by direct co-supervision and by participation to PhDs committees (3 0%),
3. Top-level interdisciplinary training (10%)
4. Summer school for international audience, (10%)
5. Seminars for students and researchers (10%)
6. Scientific presentations for a public audience (5%).

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