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PhD – soil microbes, crop resistance and biological control of insects

PhD – soil microbes, crop resistance and biological control of insects

Wageningen University, Netherlands


Rhizosphere bacteria are known to promote plant growth and induce systemic resistance to insect herbivores. This project will investigate whether the introduction of insect rest-stream materials, that are known to be colonized by particular rhizosphere bacteria, can induce resistance in aboveground plant tissues and enhance the attack of shoot-feeding insects by their antagonists such as parasitic wasps. The addition of an insect-derived rest-stream, shown to selectively enhance beneficial rhizosphere bacteria in the natural microbial community may provide a durable improvement of the rhizosphere microbial community with effects on plant resistance to insect pests. The research includes the assessment of plant growth, induction of resistance and behavioural effects on biological control agents, including underlying (molecular) mechanisms.

This research will be carried out within the NWO financed project entitled ‘Closing the loop: exploiting sustainable insect production to improve soil, crop and animal health’ in which soil ecologists, economists and entomologists collaborate.

Function Requirements
We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate who can work in a multidisciplinary team in a collaborative spirit.

You have:

  • An MSc degree in Biology, Plant Sciences or a related discipline.
  • Proven interest in species interactions at organismal and molecular levels.
  • Experience with experimental research on insects.
  • Excellent research skills.
  • Experience with statistical data analysis.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Ability to work in an multidisciplinary team.
  • Proficient in English, written and spoken.
  • Organizational and communication skills.

Within the Laboratory of Entomology, PhD students are encouraged to supervise MSc thesis students when such opportunities arise.



More information to be found here


Wageningen University, NL

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