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From molecules to communities: unraveling ecological drivers of interactions between oaks and their insect herbivores

Objective

The trophic relationships between plants and herbivorous insects comprise one of the ecologically and economically most relevant biotic interactions worldwide. Deciphering the ecological mechanisms that govern these relationships enables us to better understand the organization of biodiversity and its consequences for ecosystem functioning. Host plant diversity is known to be a major trigger of insect diversity, but it remains poorly understood why individual host plants of the same species differ – sometimes quite extensively - in the herbivore communities they sustain and the damages they suffer. KOMODOH investigates fine-scale variation in insect herbivores and their impact upon a major European forest tree, Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). Specifically, I will examine whether the insect communities associated with individual oak trees are primarily governed by intrinsic (tree phenotype and genetic relatedness) or extrinsic (ecological neighbourhood) drivers. KOMODOH mobilizes various advanced study approaches and methodologies for its ecological research, including high-throughput molecular barcoding of insect species, SNP genotyping of oak trees and a cutting-edge analysis of secondary plant metabolites. The proposed research will greatly enlarge and diversify my expertise in plant-animal interactions, community ecology, entomology, genetics and metabolomics, providing me with a unique combination of skills that will strongly enhance my future career perspectives as researcher in ecology.
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Coordinator

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE

Address

Rue De L'Universite 147
75338 Paris Cedex 07

France

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 196 707,84

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 842296

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 May 2020

  • End date

    30 April 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 196 707,84

  • EU contribution

    € 196 707,84

Coordinated by:

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE

France