Rieta Gols's research focuses on Chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions
Chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions
My research involves the chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions. I am especially interested in genetic variation in plant chemistry and how this affects interactions between insect herbivores (Lepidoptera) and their natural enemies (parasitoids). As a model system I study plants in the Brassicaceae family, which include important vegetables (e.g. cabbage) and oil seed crops (mustards), and their specialist and generalist herbivorous insects. Plant species in the Brassicaceae characteristically produce secondary metabolites called glucosinolates that have been demonstrated to play an important in the interactions with insect herbivores. My ‘pet’ plant species is wild Brassica oleracea originating from the Dorset coast in the UK and is the ancestral line of cultivated cabbage varieties. Different wild populations of this plant species vary in secondary chemistry, both glucosinolates and volatile metabolites. Volatile products that are emitted by plants when damaged by herbivores, so called herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), play an important role in foraging behaviour of natural enemies such as parasitic wasps. I am interested in how parasitoids of insect herbivores feeding on brassicaceous plant species use the infochemichals to find their herbivorous hosts. This process is complicated by the fact that the caterpillars feeding on plant species in the Brassicaceae do not restrict themselves to single plant species and different plant species emit HIPV blend that vary considerably both quantitatively and qualitatively. My aim is to reveal how parasitoids deal with this enormous variation to find their hosts in complex environments
My research is conducted in collaboration with Jeffrey Harvey (Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen), Nicole van Dam (Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands), James Bullock, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK and Michael Reichelt (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena Germany).
Paternity analysis in a Hexapod (Orchesella cincta; Collembola) with indirect sperm transferJournal of Insect Behavior 17 (2004)3. - ISSN 0892-7553 - p. 317 - 328.
Flavonoids from cabbage are feeding stimulants for diamondback moth larvae additional to glucosinolates : chemoreception and behaviourEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 104 (2002). - ISSN 0013-8703 - p. 27 - 34.
Comparison of cultivars of ornamental crop Gerbera jamesonii on production of spider mite-induced volatiles, and their attractiveness to the predator Phytoseiulus persimilisJournal of Chemical Ecology 27 (2001)7. - ISSN 0098-0331 - p. 1355 - 1372.
The response of Phytoseiulus persimilis to spider mite-induced volatiles from gerbera: influence of starvation and experienceJournal of Chemical Ecology 79 (1999)1. - ISSN 0098-0331 - p. 2623 - 2641.
Jasmonic acid induces the production of gerbera volatiles that attract the biological control agent Phytoseiulus persimilisEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 93 (1999). - ISSN 0013-8703 - p. 77 - 86.
Jasmonic acid and herbivory differentially induce carnivore-attracting plant volatiles in Lima bean plantsJournal of Chemical Ecology 25 (1999). - ISSN 0098-0331 - p. 1907 - 1922.