Trine Bilde, Professor, Department of Biology, Aarhus University
The Missing Link: Unravelling the Role of Genetic Variation of Beneficial Arthropods in Agro-ecosystems
Marjo Saastamoinen, Associate Professor, Helsinki Institute of Life Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
Greta Bocedi, Royal Society University Research Fellow, School of Biological Science, University of Aberdeen, UK
Philip Francis Thomsen, Associate Professor, Dept. of Bioscience, University of Aarhus, Denmark
The grant will enable an ecological genetics research centre to be established that will investigate whether the dramatic decline observed in insect populations also contributes to loss of genetic diversity. The project will also examine how the interaction between the habitat needs of the insects and the use of natural land areas influences the genetic diversity of the insect populations. The research will investigate whether less genetic diversity threatens the biological functions of species and renders these populations especially vulnerable to environmental changes and outbreaks of disease.
“Insects are extremely important in both natural and cultivated ecosystems and we are apparently seeing large declines in their populations. However, we know little about how this affects genetic diversity, the loss of which can also accelerate the loss of species diversity, which is one of the important ecosystem services that insects provide such as pollination and natural pest control. Understanding how we can maintain genetic diversity in natural populations is therefore important. Our research, which will use major genome analysis, will examine the interaction between animal biology and the intensity of the use of their habitats and how this affects the maintenance of healthy and diverse populations,” says Trine Bilde, who is receiving DKK 59.1 million for her research.