Research objectives and content
Parasitic wasps (or parasitoids) provide one of the most interesting systems to study the evolutionary basis of animal behaviour. The number of eggs available for oviposition inside the female's ovarioles is a crucial determinant of the parasitoid's foraging behaviour. This project addresses one of the most critical problems faced by theoretical studies of parasitoid behaviour, namely, the lack of empirically obtained, biologically realistic information about the pattern of resource allocation to egg production in relation to adult diet in female parasitoids. Through a series of laboratory experiments that will combine behavioural, physiological and radio-labelling techniques I will be addressing the following key points: (1) how are nutrient from different sources allocated to egg production and storage in parasitoids of different sizes, (2) what is the number and rate of eggs produced as a direct consequence of a feeding bout, and (3) what is the time delay between a feeding bout and the subsequent production of the first egg. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The extensive expertise available at the U. F-Rabelais in the field of insect behaviour, physiology and radioactive labelling will give me the chance to learn new techniques and develop a challenging new approach to the study of parasitoid resource allocation and egg production and their effect on female behaviour.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)