ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work2
Course coordinator(s)Dr J Spitzen
prof. dr. M Dicke
Lecturer(s)Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn
D Lucas Gomes Marques Barbosa
dr. ir. J Helder
dr. ir. GHJ Kema
prof. dr. M Dicke
prof. dr. ir. RAA van der Vlugt
dr. J van Ruijven
dr. ir. L Bastiaans
dr. ir. VID Ros
dr. EH Poelman
prof. dr. W de Boer
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Dicke

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

MSc thesis Crop and Weed Ecology, Entomology, Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology, Nematology, Plant Pathology, Soil Quality, and Virology.


The course focuses on bio-interactions between invertebrates (arthropods, nematodes), micro-organisms and plants, and between beneficial organisms and pathogens and their hosts in natural and agro-ecosystems. The major themes covered in the lectures include biodiversity, interaction and communication between organisms, including different trophic levels, fundamental mechanisms underlying bio-interactions, and biological control. We concentrate on intra- and interspecific interactions and application of this knowledge to explore, monitor and evaluate (agro-)ecosystem management strategies using biodiversity principles, often referred to as functional biodiversity.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course, the students are expected to have the knowledge, tools and skills:
- to understand and predict the responses and interactions of individual organisms, communities and ecosystems;
- to explore, develop and evaluate management strategies and practices that enable and ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and conservation of biodiversity;
- to manage the interactions between crops, (parasitic) weeds, insects, bacteria, fungi, viruses and nematodes at different trophic levels;
- to strengthen the inherent quality of agro-ecosystems in preventing pest and disease development (genetic control, cultural control, biological control, and other biorational options);
- to carry out a research project: formulate research questions and a project proposal, design an experiment, carry out experimental work, collect and record data, analyse results, write a scientific publication and present the results in a mini-symposium.


The first part of the course (2.5 weeks) consists of lectures by specialist teachers in which concepts of bio-interactions and functional biodiversity will be covered, and various examples will be demonstrated with the aid of audiovisual means. Model simulations will be carried out. The lectures will provide the theoretical basis for the mini-research projects. During the second part of the course (3.5 weeks), mini-research projects will be conducted at the different chair groups and involve design, implementation, data analysis and report writing. The results of the experiments will be presented orally in a seminar and on paper in the format of a scientific paper for an interdisciplinary audience.


The final mark will be based on a written exam (50%) concerning the lectures and on the evaluation of the overall performance during the mini-research project (50%).


All relevant information is available on the website and in the reader.

Verplicht voor: MBIBiologyMScB: Bio-interactions1AF
Keuze voor: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Agroecology1AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScC: Natural Resource Management1AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScE: Plant Pathology and Entomology1AF