Hello, my name is Wouter, I’m 27 years old and I work in the Plant Sciences group at Wageningen University and Research. I conducted research for the first three years of my PhD in the South of France, at INRA Sophia Agrobiotech. I arrived in the Netherlands a few months ago to finish my last year of PhD here. My research focuses on the tri-tropic interactions between natural enemies, insect pests and plants on the population and landscape level. A better understanding of the factors that affect these interactions is essential for improving the current biological control practices. Our aim is to provide better guidelines for companies, farmers and researchers. For this, we make use of individual based models that simulate the behaviour of the organisms in an artificial landscape. These models allow for unlimited customization, making it possible to test multiple scenarios in a short time. Adding a genetic algorithm, a form of evolutionary computing, allows us to find the target points for the further improvement of biological control practices. What life-history traits are important for the efficacy of the natural enemy? How should we release natural enemies to generate the highest economic returns for the farmers? By following this course on consumer – resource interactions, I hope to gain more insight into the population dynamics in my models.
In my free time I enjoy running and swimming, as well as photography and travelling. I’m looking forward to the course and meeting you all!