What limits the reproductive success of insects in the field?
Insects constitute a significant proportion of biological diversity on earth, and their influence on mankind is enormous. However, the small size and high mobility of many insects makes it difficult to study them under field conditions. This limits our ability to answer basic questions on insect ecology and evolution and to promote their use for our own benefit. We apply different methods to study limits to the reproductive success of insects in the field. These methods allow investigating the effects of individual variation (body size, physiological state), environmental conditions (temperature, food availability) and anthropogenic influences (land management) on the success, life history and behavior of insects in the field, while promoting their use for biological control.
What is the effect of bacterial endosymbionts on the reproductive success of insects?
Recent scientific developments emphasize the important role of bacterial endosymbionts on the development, ecology and evolution of their insect hosts. Bacterial endosymbionts may be virulent or beneficial for their host. These effects often depend on host state and on the environment. Therefore, it is important to study the effects of endosymbionts under varying, yet realistic, environmental conditions. We apply advanced methods to study the effect of endosymbionts on the success of insects under natural or semi-natural conditions, while promoting their use for biological control of pests and diseases.
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