07.06.2021 | MIE Group News

MIE welcomes Pius Otto

Pius Otto

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Molecular Interaction Ecology is welcoming Pius Otto to the group. Pius is an Erasmus Mundus student in the joint master degree of PLANT HEALTH IN SUSTAINABLE CROPPING SYSTEMS, following the studies trajectory at the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain), Montpellier SupAgro, Agrocampus Ouest and AgroParis Tech (France). In the next months, Pius will perform his MSc thesis research in the project of Jessil Pajar.

Global food production is constantly threatened by new pests and pathogens, especially with the current increase in climate change. This makes phytosanitary management a vital aspect of food security and safety as well as environmental protection and preservation. The development of sound plant health protection strategies needs to take into account the different pest and pathogen population dynamics in the entirety of an agro-ecosystem. One of these strategies relies on integrated biological control. 

The goal of the MSc project is to elucidate below ground herbivory influences on above ground herbivores.The system involves two plant-parasitic nematodes Pratylenchus penetrans a root lesion migratory nematode, and Meloidogyne incognita, a root-knot nematode) below ground and the specialist aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae above-ground feeding on Brassica nigra plants. Pius will study this by inoculating B .nigra plants with each of the nematode species and a combination of both nematodes, then with B. brassicae. With this, he can analyse the different sets of B. nigra phytohormone defence signals induced and their resulting consequences on B. brassicae.

The target of the project is to investigate whether or not nematode feeding influences:

(a) aphid fecundity, feeding behaviour and developmental time.

(b) changes in aphid performance.

Welcome Pius and good luck!

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