MIE and EcoMetEoR host Jiao Qu
Jiao Qu is a PhD student from the Ghent University in Belgium. In her project she is investigating the effects of habitat fragmentation on plant traits (e.g. biomass, plant height and herbivore) in Arabidopsis thaliana, Senecio jacobaea and Senecio inaequidens. Preliminary results showed that the abundance of aboveground herbivores and belowground nematodes increased with urbanization in two native plant species (A. thaliana and S. jacobaea), but decreased in the non-native plant species (S. inaequidens). It iswell known that chemical compounds as glucosinolates play a key role in plant defenses against herbivores. Differential production of defenses could explain the observed differences in herbivore pressure. Jiao Qu visits the EcoMEtEoR platform for 2 weeks to analyses the content and the composition of glucosinolates in A.thaliana to elucidate the effect of urbanization on this chemical defense mechanism.