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Fundamentals and application of arthropod-mediated ecosystem services

To be announced


Arthropods provide valuable pollination and pest control services which are vital for agricultural production, but there is growing concern about the deterioration of these services. This notion has resulted in an increasing interest in management strategies aimed at the conservation of pollinators and natural enemies that provide these services. While there is general consensus that the populations of these service providers can be influenced by the landscape context at different spatial scales, practical guidelines on spatial planning for arthropod-mediated ecosystem services (AMES) are often lacking. Moreover, little is known about the possible trade-offs or synergies between interventions to stimulate AMES and other land use functions. This PhD graduate course we will provide an overview of recent developments of concepts and tools that can contribute to the design of multifunctional landscapes that are better suited to capitalize on these ecosystem services in conjunction with other land-use functions.

The focus of the course will be on:

  • Resource-consumer interactions underlying pollination and biocontrol services
  • The spatial ecology of pollinators and natural enemies
  • The economic valuation of arthropod-mediated ecosystem services
  • The design of multifunctional landscapes that support arthropod-mediated ecosystem services as well as other land-use functions.

The course is composed of a introductory poster session, a series of lectures, an excursion, model demonstrations, and development of a research proposal in a group setting.

  • Introductory poster session: Prior to the course, participants must submit a poster of their work (A1-size) in PDF, which will be printed by the course office. The poster must contain your name and affiliation, title and short description of your research project with one highlight (something exciting) and the reason why you want to participate in this course. Participants briefly (3 minutes) highlight the poster followed by ample time for participants and lecturers to visit individual posters. Posters will remain in the lecture room throughout the course.
  • Lectures and discussion: Each day starts with two speakers giving a lecture on one of the key course topics, covering both the general theory and applied aspects. After each lecture, a discussion of 45 minutes is held, which is convened by participants who challenge the speaker on the presentation and papers that the speaker submitted (which participants will receive before the course).
  • Excursion and model demonstrations: During the excursion participants familiarize themselves with some sampling techniques and a group assignment will be conducted. In the model demonstration state-of-the-art modelling concepts will be demonstrated that relate to the topics covered by the speakers.
  • Group activities: On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, participants will be split into working groups and will develop a research proposal. Each group will present the results to all course participants on Friday. Group activities will be supervised by the lecturers and course organizers, so that the students can optimally benefit from experts that are among the leaders in their fields.

The programme of the last edition of this course (2019) can be downloaded here.

  • Doug Landis (Michigan State University, USA) & Tibor Bukovinsky (Wageningen University) Topics: Resource-consumer interactions. Antagonistic (biocontrol) and mutualistic (pollination) resource-consumer relationships will be discussed, as well as biotic and abiotic requirements of beneficial arthropods. Management options to enhance arthropod-mediated ecosystem services (AMES) will be highlighted.
  • Teja Tscharntke (Georg-August University, Germany) & Felix Bianchi (Wageningen University) Topic: Spatial ecology of ecosystem service providers. The scale-dependent response of beneficial arthropods to surrounding landscape will be discussed. Considerations for the design of experiments and the use of modelling approaches to study interactions between beneficial arthropods and landscape setting will be reviewed.
  • Jikun Huang (Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, China) & Wopke van der Werf (Wageningen University) Topic: Valuation of AMES. Relationships between landscape context, pesticide use, natural enemy impact and economic value of biocontrol services will be discussed. An econometric and a process-based approach for the valuation of AMES will be introduced.
  • Jeroen Groot (Wageningen University) & Felix Bianchi (Wageningen University) Topic: Multifunctional landscape design. Integration of AMES with other land use objectives, such as crop production, landscape aesthetics and water quality, will be discussed. Methods for analysing the trade-offs and synergies between land use objectives will be introduced, and the stakeholder interaction needed for a multi-actor design processes will be examined.
Course organisers
  • Felix Bianchi (Farming Systems Ecology group, Wageningen University)
  • Tibor Bukovinsky (Resource Ecology group, Wageningen University)
  • Wopke van der Werf (Centre for Crop Systems Analysis, Wageningen University)
  • Jeroen Groot (Farming Systems Ecology group, Wageningen University)
General information
Target Group The course is aimed at PhD candidates and other academics
Group Size Min. 15, max. 25 participants
Course duration 5 days
Language of instruction English
Frequency of recurrence Every three years
Number of credits 1.5 ECTS
Lecturers Prof. Doug Landis (Michigan State University, USA), Prof. Teja Tscharntke (Georg-August University, Germany), Prof. Jikun Huang (Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, China), Dr. Felix Bianchi, Prof. Pablo Tittonell, and Dr. Jeroen Groot (Farming Systems Ecology group, Wageningen University), Dr. Tibor Bukovinsky (Resource Ecology group, Wageningen University), and Dr. Wopke van der Werf (Centre for Crop Systems Analysis, Wageningen University)
Prior knowledge No prior knowledge assumed.
Location In-house, at a venue near Wageningen


Fees 1

Generally, the following fees apply for this course, but note that the actual fees may be somewhat different for the next edition of this course.

PE&RC 2 / SENSE / RSEE PhD candidates with an approved TSP €    350,-
All other PhD candidates, postdocs and other academic staff €    700,-
Participants from the private sector € 1.400,-

1 The course fee includes a reader, full board, and accommodation.
2 Those defending their thesis at Wageningen University

More information

Dr. Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485116
Email: claudius.vandevijver@wur.nl

Dr. Lennart Suselbeek (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485426
Email: lennart.suselbeek@wur.nl


At this moment, this course is not scheduled yet. However, if you register your interest in this activity below, we will inform you as soon as the course is scheduled and registration of participation is opened.