Pierre Courrier

Master in Biology

Research interests

Many interactions between plant and animal world take place within an ecosystem and are found at several trophic levels.
For example, herbivores decrease the growth of a plant because of their feeding pressure. Similarly, predators also negatively influence the number and effectiveness of herbivores. With volatile organic compounds (VOCs), plants can attract these predators to increase pressure on herbivores and benefit from better growth. In addition, plant neighborhood can influence the production of VOCs. These trophic interactions determine the ecosystem functioning.

The aim of my project is to determine the ability of Festuca rubra plants to recruit parasitic nematodes in natural conditions when they are under pressure from the underground herbivore Melolontha melolontha. The herbivore will feed on the roots and eventually kill the plant. To overcome this, plants can produce underground volatile compounds to attract these EPN from Melolontha melolontha larvae. The effect of plant diversity on the production of volatile as well as the effect of altitude on trophic interactions such as herbivory quantity, nematode predation and plant resistance are also part of the study.

Main topics

  • Trophic levels
  • Plant-insect interactions
  • Environnemental gradients
  • Plant diversity
  • Predator attraction

Pierre Courrier



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