MSc Thesis Topic: Analysis of insect biodiversity and fitness in a long term biodiversity field experiment

Since 1996 we are studying, in the field, the effects of sowing low or high diverse plant communities on succession and ecosystem functioning.

Field work in long-term biodiversity experimental field at Mossel,  Planken Wambuis/Picture: Martijn Bezemer
Field work in long-term biodiversity experimental field at Mossel, Planken Wambuis/Picture: Martijn Bezemer

One aspect of this project is that we are looking at the relationship between plant diversity and insect diversity. For one plant species, Lotus corniculatus, for example, we have collected a large number of pods from plants growing in plots with different biodiversity treatments, and we are now constructing a foodweb based from the insects that emerge from the pods.

We are combining biodiversity with fitness (body size, sex ratio clutch size decisions etc.) to determine the consequences of surrounding biodiversity of the vegetation on foodwebs and insect performance. Enthousiast students that are interested can participate in this project. There are many options for subprojects within the project, either in the field or in the laboratory.