Start of Biodiversity of the Netherlands course

In periode 6 (May-June) the Biodiversity of the Netherlands course started with 240 first-year Biology and Forest and Nature Conservation students. Assistant professor Sabrina Simon and me together with PhD student Thijmen Breeschoten and 7 student assistants teach the Fauna part on arthropod systematics and diversity. We visit 5 locations/habitats in the surroundings of Wageningen were students evaluate arthropod abundances. Many enthusiastic students with nets catching insects are all over the place!


4th Vidi user committee meeting

On Monday 23rd April 2018 we had our 4th meeting in Wageningen presenting updates to the users and researchers involved in the NWO/TTW Vidi project. Niccolo and Lotte gave presentations and all members of the team including the Aspasias Setareh and Eddie and MSc student Jeroen were present. A lot of experiments are currently ongoing and therefore we expect more conclusive results in the next meeting in November 2018.

International Symposium on Bridging Ecology & Molecular Biology in Berlin

The Second International CRC 973 Symposium “Bridging Ecology and Molecular Biology: Organismic Responses to Recurring Stress” was held in Berlin (Germany) from April 09-11, 2018. It was organised by the Collaborative Research Centre 973 #sfb973 “Priming and Memory of Organismic Responses to Stress” in the lecture hall of the Botanic Garden and Museum. The Vidi team (Niccolo, Lotte and me) and Cindy came all the way from Wageningen by train to present posters and/or listen to the inspiring talks. Invited speakers like Matthias Erb and Gary Felton gave nice presentations on recent developments in their labs on plant-insect interactions, Niccolo and a few other selected PhDs gave a pitch on their posters. Georgios and Luis gave a funny and informative #scicomm on the research on insect egg-induced defences conducted at the Monika Hilker lab. Both 'Pieris egg' teams from Berlin and Wageningen exchanged their research during the delicious coffee and lunch breaks. An  excursion with dinner organized on a boat driving on the river Spree through the city of Berlin was the highlight of the non-scientific part of the symposium. Thanks a lot to the organizers @sfb973 for three nice days!

Impressive dies natalis #wur100

It was a great honor to be selected as one of the three young WUR scientists (together with Joris Sprakel and Ingrid Boas) to speak at the 100 years anniversary of Wageningen University and Research. Before it started a picture was taken with all (emeritus) WUR professors, rector magnifici from all Dutch universities, mayors of Wageningen and the surrounding municipalities and the invited speaker Lee Cronin (purple trouser). During the cortege we walked with all the 'pinguins' over the campus into the lecture hall of Orion filled with about 1000 people - my husband Ties and our two daughters among them. Speeches by the rector magnificus Arthur Mol and Lee Cronin preceded our talks which were on how our research contributes to the unravelling of life. Natural ways of fighting harmful insects (me), migration patterns after a hurricane (Ingrid) and dancing molecules (Joris) were at the centre of attention. After, honorary doctorates were handed over by the rector, and the vice premier Carola Schouten and the WUR president Louise Fresco gave a speech with an intermezzo by the band Levanter. In the evening, we were invited with our partners at the gala dinner in the Hotel De Wageningse Berg and Ties and me enjoyed sitting at our assigned table together with the rector Arthur.

BINGO-ITN symposium at Koppert

An interesting symposium was held at Koppert Biological Systems in Berkel and Rodenrijs on 'New techniques for better biocontrol: next-generation sequencing, genotyping and experimental evolution in insects and mites'. Guest speakers like Richard Stouthamer and Jack Werren came all the way from the U.S. It was a long day starting from 6 am at Radix building with a bus tour to Koppert, ending at 22:30 after a delicious dinner in an Italian restaurant.


Vidi team New Years dinner

Diverse dinner with a diverse group

Just after New Year we met at my place to have a dinner. Everybody brought a dish more or less typical for his/her country (the Vidi/Aspasia group represents 7 nationalities!). It was a cheerful evening and nice start of the new year...looking forward to work with a great team!

NEV Entomology meeting

Vidi team at Netherlands Entomology Annual Meeting

Traditionally, the Dutch Entomology meeting is on a Friday just before the Christmas vacations. We heard lots of nice talks and debates on the alarming declines in insect biodiversity/biomass shown in many recent studies. Eddie presented a poster and Niccolo gave a nice presentation but more plant than insect focused...too much for the entomologists?

Vidi project progress meeting with users

Four more years to go

The Vidi project is running now for a year. We conducted a couple of experiments since Lotte is back from maternity leave. Thus, we had lots of nice data to present, a fruitful discussion and a delicious lunch. Most of the users and experts came and participated. Our team increased with two new members, Setareh Mohammadin and Cindy Wang. So hopefully, until our next progress meeting, end of April 2018, we are another step further toward our goal!

Succesful screening of Brassica rapa genotypes on egg-killing response

Greenhouse experiment

This month we conducted a large screening of 60 genotypes by releasing Pieris rapae females to let them oviposit and by adding egg wash. Several B. rapa genotypes showed necrosis against eggs.

Vidi team excursion – catching butterflies and searching eggs

Successful excursion with nice weather and lots of cabbage whites flying around!

Some black mustard plants showed strong HR that killed the butterfly eggs (dessicated).