dr.ir. RWHM (Rob) van Tol

dr.ir. RWHM (Rob) van Tol

Entomologist

Entomologist working at Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands) studying plant-insect interactions. The three main topics of my work are visual ecology, chemical ecology and biological control. The visual ecology is focusing on understanding the fundamentals on insect vision for the development of more effective trapping systems for pest insects. We are exploring both behaviour to visual stimuli (with LED light) and physiological aspects of the eyes of Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis and the European tarnished plant bug, Lygus rugulipennis. Next to improved monitoring we are investigating the possibilities of mass-trapping and attractive devices for lure & kill. By combining optimized visual and olfactory attractants in a device we expect to develop new/better tools for control of pests in greenhouses and field crops. The chemical ecology is focusing on application and slow-release systems of kairomones and pheromones. For Lygus we have recently identified new kairomones by combining techniques of gaschromatography coupled with electroantennogram detection (GC-EAD) and gaschromatography coupled with mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) and bioassays (e.g. olfactometers). The biological control of my work is currently focusing on the belowground interaction of plant-roots, soil pests and entomopathogenic fungi (EPF). Understanding how these EPF interact in the rhizosphere and/or as symbionts of the plant and how this affects the defence against pest insects are goals of our research.