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PhD - Light quality, pest arthropods and biological control

In many greenhouses lamps are used to produce year-round products of high quality. To increase sustainability of primary production in greenhouses, the energy …

9 maanden geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


In many greenhouses lamps are used to produce year-round products of high quality. To increase sustainability of primary production in greenhouses, the energy use for lighting must be reduced drastically. LED (Light-Emitting Diode) technology provides exciting new opportunities, not only to reduce energy inputs, but it may also be used to increase primary production and improve sustainable pest control.
Crops have characteristics that provide them with resistance to pests, and crops also interact with natural enemies of herbivores, e.g. by producing herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) or by influencing the behaviour of natural enemies on the plant. Light quality and temperature affect crop physiology and crop growth, with a combined effect on crop phenotype and, consequently, the crop's interactions with pests and their natural enemies. Temperature, light quality and quantity are known to affect the behaviour of pest arthropods and their natural enemies. Temperature and light conditions are also likely to influence crop resistance to insect pests because these environmental factors influence resource availability, competition and risk of attack by parasitic plants. When physical and chemical characteristics of the plant enhance the performance of biological control agents, as recently reported for tomato, this may result in an improved performance of the crop. To investigate the effects of modifications of light x temperature regime via LEDs on arthropod pests from different feeding guilds the effects of modifications of light x temperature regime on two major pests of tomato and their natural enemies will be investigated. In this project we investigate the effects of selected light quality and temperature conditions on the behaviour of pests of tomato, on the resistance of tomato, on the behaviour and effectiveness of biological control agents of the two major insect pests. This will be done in the lab, greenhouse as well as under (semi-)commercial conditions.


We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate, interested in curiosity-driven research who can work in a multidisciplinary team in a collaborative spirit.

You have:

  • an MSc degree in Biology, Plant Sciences or a related discipline;
  • proven interest in species interactions at organismal and molecular levels;
  • interest in fundamental research;
  • experience with experimental research on insects;
  • excellent research skills;
  • experience with statistical data analysis;
  • affiliation with chemical mechanisms underlying species interactions;
  • ability to work independently;
  • ability to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • proficient in English, written and spoken;
  • organizational and communication skills.
Within the Laboratory of Entomology, PhD students are encouraged to supervise MSc thesis students when such opportunities arise.


We offer a full-time position (38 hours), initially for 1 year after which a go/no go decision will be taken on extension with another three years. Gross salary per month € 2222,- in the first year rising to € 2840,- per month in the fourth year, for a fulltime appointment. The candidate will be based at the Laboratory of Entomology in Wageningen.

Additional information

Information on the research: Prof. Marcel Dicke (marcel.dicke@wur.nl) or Prof. Joop van Loon (joop.vanloon@wur.nl)
Information on the selection procedure: Mrs. Dorien Wissink (dorien.wissink@wur.nl).

You can apply up to and including April 2, 2018
For this position you can only apply on line: www.wageningenur.nl/career

Don't email your application directly to the people mentioned above but use the website to apply.


The mission of Wageningen University & Research is "To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life". Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at thespecial career site.

We have a vacancy for a PhD position 'Light quality, pest arthropods and biological control' within the research programme 'LEDs make it resilient'. The position is embedded in the Laboratory of Entomology of Wageningen University with close collaboration with the Horticulture and Product Physiology (HPP) and the Plant Physiology (PPH) groups of Wageningen University. The research team of the Laboratory of Entomology consists of ambitious scientists and we aim at a multidisciplinary approach from cellular to community level to unravel biological phenomena underlying the functioning of plant-insect communities, insect vectored diseases, insect neurobiology and insects as food and feed. The Laboratory of Entomology is part of the Plant Sciences Group of Wageningen University and Research Centre.