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SPATIAL ECOLOGY OF WHITE GRUBS IN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES DOMINATED BY SUGARCANE: IMPLICATIONS FOR AREAWIDE PEST MANAGEMENT (ECOGRUBS)
Start date: 01 May 2009, End date: 15 Dec 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The research project addresses two major critical issues: the management of a group of major insect pests through better understanding of ecological processes involved in agrosystem-insect pest interactions, and the security of the world’s food and energy. The scientific purpose of the project is to assess the effect of landscape structure upon patterns of abundance and mobility of the Australian greyback canegrub Dermolepida albohirtum, the most devastating pest of the sugarcane ecosystems, to improve its control. It is particularly intended to examine how the pest uses a variety of landscape elements in relation to their availability. The research methodology will be based on 3 specific objectives: Quantifying landscape context in pilot sites; monitoring and mapping beetles movements and damage; data analysis and population modelling. To achieve these objective I will integrate the Australian private partner BSES that develop and use original research methods. The project will also offer me a unique opportunity to be trained in ecology and geostatitistics but also to better understand how a technology can be transferred to stakeholders. New tools such as radiotelemetry, Geographic Information Systems and simulation models will be combined to unravel the spatial ecology of D. albohirtum and to implement an areawide pest management initiative. The global aim of this fellowship is to reinforce the international dimension of my scientific career by consolidating my expertise in the field of spatial ecology of insects and to acquire new complementary skills to set up future projects with European and international institutions and industries. This fellowship has the potential to reinforce the expertise of Europe in pest risk analysis, this region being particularly exposed to new invading pests due to global warming. The new research expertise gained in Australia will be valorised in Europe through my reintegration phase at CIRAD (France)."
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