MSc Thesis Topic: Evolution of plant defence in exotic plant species

Plants contain chemical compounds that can be deterrent or toxic to insect herbivores. It is thought that the production of these defence compounds is costly.

What happens if a plant is introduced in a new area and is suddenly released from its natural enemies? Some plants will make less defence compounds, while other plant species will make more. 

Field experiment in Afferdense Waarden/Picture: Mirka Macel
Field experiment in Afferdense Waarden/Picture: Mirka Macel

In this project we will compared the defences of different plant populations by performing greenhouse experiments with plants and insects and performing chemical analyses of the plants.We will try to link this to the presence or absence of insects and pathogens in the field.

Duration:

At least 6 months. Greenhouse experiments can be done the whole year round, fieldwork/observations from May to September.