MSc Thesis Topic: Insect resistance of the invasive plant Senecio inaequidens

The South-African ragwort Senecio inaequidens is one of the more invasive terrestrial plant species in Europe which has become increasingly abundant in the last 10 years.

Scenecio inaequidens: an invasive plant from South Africa/Picture: Mirka Macel
Scenecio inaequidens: an invasive plant from South Africa/Picture: Mirka Macel

It is striking that this plant shows few signs of damage by insect herbivores. The only insect found feeding on this alien plant is the aphid Aphis jacobaea, who is a specialist on the native Tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). We would like to study the insect resistance of Senecio inaequidens by performing experiments with several insect herbivores in the greenhouse. We would also like to know which compounds are responsible for insect resistance in this plant species and why the aphid Aphis jacobaea is apparently not affected by it.

Duration:

At least 6 months, to begin from April onwards.