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Disentangling landscape and climate effects on insect communities to inform engineering solutions to enhance biological control in a changing climate (CLIMLAND)
Start date: Apr 8, 2013, End date: Apr 7, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The impact of climate and landscape components on individuals, populations and communities is largely studied in isolation. In addition, interest in the role of landscape management in the control of agricultural pests is a developing research area. This proposal is an ambitious development of an innovative multi-disciplinary research aimed at understanding the effects of climate and landscape on insect community, composition and species abundance in cereal fields. I will use 3 different Long-Term Ecosystem Research sites (LTER) in France, all of which are agricultural areas which contain a high percentage of cereal fields and a within-site landscape gradient (bocage – open field). These 3 sites are subjected to slightly different climatic conditions, representing a latitudinal gradient throughout France. Insect communities and respective species abundance, linked to aphid pests and their natural enemies (carabids, the generalist predators, and aphid parasitoids), will be compared between each LTER for the two landscape types. More specifically, I will combined an analysis of thermal tolerance (to hot and cold temperatures) of the different species (intra and inter-site analyses), and an analysis of the landscape elements which best explain the community composition. In doing so, the respective importance of landscape components and local climatic conditions for each species will be determined. This will be completed by behavioural and quantitative genetics analyses of the mechanisms used by species to escape harmful climatic conditions. Results will advance our understanding of the likely responses of natural enemies of agricultural pests and enable us to ascertain how landscape management can be adapted to provide protection for the natural enemies to enable continued biological control in the face of climate change."
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