Article banner region

Functional Biodiversity for Biocontrol and Pollination - Underlying Mechanisms in Crops

  • Photo: 
    Illustrasjon: Shutterstock, sciencepics

NOVA PhD course of 3 ECTS organised by Prof. Pirjo Mäkelä, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.
Course dates and location: 26-30 Aug. 2019 in Kuopio, Finland.

The course is the third course in the NOVA PhD course series "Climate Change Entomology in the North" which is scheduled for 2017-2019:

Course Description
The series "Climate Change Entomology in the North" focuses on the fundamental and drastic demands in agricultural entomology in the Nordic countries, caused primarily by climate change. At an accelerating rate new serious, invasive pests threaten our primary production systems in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and wilderness areas. Furthermore, our pollination and biocontrol ecosystems services - vital to our crop production as well as wild flowers and berries - are at risk due to invading pests, competitors, and diseases; changing phenology of flowering; multiple generations of pests; decline and even forecast extinctions of certain pollinator species, etc. We need to train a new generation of experts in this area to be able to cope with the growing challenges. Foremost immediate threats include the spotted wing Drosophila -fly, recently introduced from Asia to Europe, and which is making its way northwards (established at many locations in Sweden already).

In the course series, we will train the students to understand the mechanisms of invasions, what alternatives we have in coping with and preventing the spread, what can be used for rapid and early diagnostics of such new problems, and how to mitigate negative impacts of invasions. Similarly, the rapid decline of diversity and overall population densities of key pollinators requires in-depth understanding of the mechanisms, in order to design and apply suitable mitigation measures (including regulatory approaches).

Programme Outline

  • lectures and interactive seminars on theoretical and practical basics of species invasions, range expansion, competition and displacement, ecological impacts, and the role of climate, weather and human activity as determinants or modifiers of these complex interactions; possible control and mitigation methods
  • lab-work, demonstrations, and field assessments concerning e.g., detection and monitoring of invasive pests, and control methods
  • field trip related to species invasions

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments

  • in-depth background literature assignments, eventual case study preparation

Learning Outcomes

  • up-to date knowledge of the driving forces and mechanisms of species invasions and displacement in particular as they relate to climate change
  • appreciation of the complexity of the ecological mechanisms involved
  • insights into possible avoidance, mitigation, and remedy measures that can be applied, including the need for international collaboration and coordinated actions
  • inspiration, techniques and tools for students to conduct research in the topic areas covered by the course series

Evaluation Elements

  • quality of pre-course assignment feedback
  • level of engagement and participation during the course-week
  • evaluation of individually acquired knowledge during our final interactive session

Pedagogical Approach

  • problem-oriented learning
  • positive feedback and learning within study groups
  • hands-on training of key concepts in the lab and in the field

Estimated Workload

  • 15 h lectures
  • 15 h lab and field work
  • 15 h seminars
  • 45 h independent work

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • basic and advanced courses in applied entomology, environmental sciences, and ecology

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Apply here


To be announced

Published 28. February 2019 - 13:30 - Updated 19. March 2019 - 12:25

NOVA University Network


Postal address:
Ingrid Aksnes Hjetland
NOVA Secretariat
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
PO BOX 5003
NO-1432 Aas