Native parasitoids and a novel invasive host: Linking evolutionary ecology and biological pest control

Astrid J. Kruitwagen


900 Downloads (Pure)


The use of natural enemies to control pests is of increasing importance in agriculture because pesticide application has become restrictive. One of the major challenges within biological pest control is to find natural enemies that have the right combination of traits to efficiently find and kill the pest in the field/greenhouse. This is especially difficult for new invasive pest species, because existing enemies in the invaded areas are nog always effective to attack the exotic species.
In this thesis we focused on the biological control of the Suzuki fruit-fly (Drosophila suzukii) to determine if and how native natural enemies, parasitoids, can adapt to the new host by evolution and apply this knowledge to improve biological pest control.
Through behavioural experiments and cross-breeding experiments in the laboratory we show that there is large variation within native parasitoid species to kill the invasive Suzukii pest and show that this trait is partly genetically determined. In addition, we show how we can improve parasitoids by artificial selection for biological control.
This dissertation demonstrates the importance of evolutionary biology in halting the impact of invasive species: (1) for developing sustainable biological control methods and (2) for preserving and promoting genetic diversity between and within species in order to increase the resilience of species to changing environments.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Beukeboom, Leo, Supervisor
  • Wertheim, Bregje, Supervisor
  • Pannebakker, Bart, Co-supervisor
Datum van toekenning15-feb.-2022
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
StatusPublished - 2022


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Native parasitoids and a novel invasive host: Linking evolutionary ecology and biological pest control'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit