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What’s Bugging You? How bugs support sustainable crop production and biodiversity

  • 26 - 31 March 2023
  • Parkhotel de Bosrand, Ede
  • Environmental Life Sciences
  • 1.5 ECTS

Insects, in diversity and numbers, host a significant component of the earth’s biodiversity that play an important role in systems functioning such as pollination, predation and acting as a food source. Likewise, insects provide valuable pollination and biocontrol services to support agricultural production. However, there is growing concern about insect declines, which have been associated with a range of factors, including intensive agricultural management practices and changing climate patterns. This notion has resulted in calls to conserve insect biodiversity and develop management strategies aimed at the conservation of insects and their environment that hence does not only conserve the insect diversity but biodiversity at large.

In this course, we will provide an overview of theory, concepts and approaches to conserve insects and the design of biodiversity-friendly agricultural landscapes. Aside from updating and deepening your scientific knowledge, this course also offers an excellent opportunity to broaden your network and to interact with world-class scientists in the field!

The focus of the course will be on:

  • Functional biodiversity and biodiversity conservation
  • Management of insect-mediated ecosystem services
  • Temporal and spatial scales for management
  • Socio-economic aspects

Course set-up

The course is composed of a keynote address, a poster carousel, a series of lectures and a joint paper writing exercise.

Poster carousel

After the Sunday dinner there will be a poster carousel during which participants present themselves, their research and interest in the course. The carousel will involve 6 sessions where approximately 6 posters will be presented. Prior to the course, participants will receive a poster format from the course office. After having completed the poster, it is submitted to the course office in PDF. The poster will be printed by the course office. Posters will remain in the lecture room throughout the course.

Lectures and discussion

Each day starts with 2 or 3 lectures by authorities on the topic of the day, covering both the general theory and applied aspects. After each lecture, a discussion is held, convened by the participants who challenge the speaker on the presentation and a paper. Participants receive the speaker’s paper prior to the course and formulate a question based on this paper. If the lecture has caused participants to want to rephrase or change their question, they will have time to do so just after the lecture.

Group activity

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, participants will collectively develop a review paper. Participants will be split in working groups of 4-5 members, that each day will receive an assignment to develop a section of the paper. The activity is supervised by the lecturers and course organizers, and there will be ample time for discussion and sharpening the content of sections. At the end of the week, we hope to have a full draft of the paper, which may be suited for submission to an international peer-reviewed journal.

  • PE&RC, Wageningen University
  • Once every four years