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SLU Biodiversity and biocontrol lab

We perform research on biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. We study the links between biodiversity, food-web structure and service provisioning, and how farming practices and land use at different scales can be modified to support ecosystem services. We primarily study biological control of invertebrate pests and weeds, but also work with other ecosystem services such as pollination.

Contact us

Do you want to learn more about SLU Biodiversity and Biocontrol lab. Please contact Mattias Jonsson


Green spiderResilience of biological control

A high diversity of predators can contribute to improved regulation of pests in the short-term, and theory predicts that it should increase resilience to disturbances in the long-term. We study how predator communities contribute to stability and resilience of biological control to environmental change. We study this in both in European and East African agroecosystems.

Read more:
Landscape complexity promotes resilience of biological pest control

Contact: Benjamin Feit

Key collaborators: Cory Straub (Ursinus College, USA), Nico Blüthgen (University of Darmstadt, Germany), Michael Traugott (University of Innsbruck, Austria)

Funding: The Swedish Research Council, Formas, and the European Commission.

Weed-seed predation

Both invertebrates such as carabid beetles and vertebrates such as small rodents contribute to weed-seed predation. We explore to what extent weed-seed predation can help to regulate agricultural weeds, how the diversity of weed-seed predators contributes to weed regulation and how weed regulation is shaped by agricultural management and landscape context.

Read more: BioAWARE

Contact: Eirini Daouti

Key collaborators: Riccardo Bommarco, Giulia Vico, Alexander Menegat (all SLU), Dave Bohan (PI) (INRA, France), Michael Traugott and Corinna Wallinger (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Pavel Saska (Crop Research Institute, Czech Repubilc), Wopke van der Werf (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

Funding: C-IPM, Formas, Biodiversa and Swedish EPA.

Two people working in field.

Push-pull management of pests and weeds

Push-pull is a mixed cropping system that combines an intercrop that repels pests with a trap crop that attracts and traps pests. In East African maize crops this cropping system can reduce insect pest problems, suppress weeds, improve soil fertility and enhance crop yield. We study how the effectiveness of the approach depends on landscape context, soil fertility levels and climatic conditions and how effective the cropping system is likely to be in the future

Read more:
The upscale project
Towards sustainable maize production in East Africa: Cropping system resilience under climate change (Resilient push-pull) pdf

Contact: Grace Amboka and Mattias Jonsson

Key collaborators: Daniel Mutyambai and Charles Midega (Icipe, Kenya), Shem Kuyah (JKUAT, Kenya), Katja Poveda (Cornell University, USA), Yann Clough (Lund University, Sweden), Emily Poppenborg Martin (PI) (University of Hannover, Germany), Sigrun Dahlin (SLU), and the rest of the UPSCALE consortium.

Funding: The Swedish Research council and the European Commission to the project UPSCALE.

Are invertebrate populations collapsing in Sweden?

In recent years numerous studies have reported alarming declines of insect populations all over the world. However, in general we have a poor understanding of how invertebrate populations are changing over time. We here study how the abundance and biomass of different groups of invertebrates have changed during the past 30 years in Sweden, by analyzing catches in Suction traps.

Contact: Mattias Jonsson

Key collaborators: Jonas Knape, Maartje Klapwijk, Riccardo Bommarco, Tomas Roslin, Christer Björkman, Tomas Pärt, Jan Bengtsson, Ola Lundin, Mats Jonsell, Åsa Berggren, Erik Öckinger, Velemir Ninkovic, Debora Arlt, Roland Sigvald (all SLU)

Funding: Formas

Flower strips 2.0

Adding flowers to the cropping system that support natural enemies and pollinators is a promising way to enhance ecosystem services. We study the efficacy of existing flower strips being adopted by farmers within the project SamZoner. We furthermore explore if there are ways to optimize flower strips for Swedish conditions by combining plants that benefit natural enemies, pollinators and support healthy soil, without enhancing pests and pathogens. Optimized flower strips are tested in strawberry plantations.

Contact: Neus Rodriguez-Gasol

Key collaborators: Maria Viketoft (PI), Johan Stenberg, Ola Lundin, Elodie Chapurlat (all SLU).

Funding: SLF, Formas and SLU Ekoforsk

Native natural enemies for invasive and native tomato pests

The invasive tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta and the native caterpillars Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptora littoralis cause substantial damage to tomato crops across Africa. We try to identify native natural enemies with pest suppression potential for these main Lepidopteran pests, in Benin and Tanzania. Arthropods from field-grown tomato are identified morphologically and molecularly and gut content identification will confirm the main predatory species of the target pests. We furthermore study how to best support an effective community of natural enemies through conservation biological control.

Contact: Miriam Karlsson

Key collaborators: George Goergen (IITA, Benin), Srinivasan Ramasamy, (World Vegetable Center, Tanzania)

Funding: Formas and Swedish Research Council

Linking agricultural management, host-parasitoid interactions and natural pest control in Mediterranean olive orchards

This project is investigating how different aspects of olive farming intensification influence arthropod diversity and (taxonomic and functional) community composition, as well as the potential for natural pest control, by examining the interactions between olive pest species and their parasitoids. Outcomes will contribute to the delineation of management guidelines that reconcile olive production with the conservation of arthropods and this key ecosystem service. 

Contact: Sasha Vasconcelos

Collaborators: Pedro Beja (PI) and Franscisco Moreira (CIBIO-InBIO), Ruben Heleno (Univ. Coimbra)

Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal

The influence of agroforestry systems on insect pollinator communities in Tanzania

Agroforestry systems have similarities with natural wooded habitats but are often dominated by exotic vegetation. This project investigates to what extent agroforestry systems in Tanzania provide suitable habitat for insect pollinators. We study how the structure and composition of the agroforestry systems influence insect pollinator communities, network structures and pollination services.

Contact: Nanyika Kingazi and Mattias Jonsson

Key collaborators: Prof. Ruwa-Aichi P.C Temu and Dr. Agnes Sirima (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)

Funding: SIDA through the REFOREST program

Published: 12 July 2023 - Page editor: anna.lundmark@slu.se