Belgian Grant for APE Lab Entomologists
Dr. Minette Karsten, Prof. John S. Terblanche and Dr. Pia Addison just received a prestigious grant from the Belgian Development Cooperation. This project, in collaboration with researchers from Belgium (Royal Museum for Central Africa), Mozambique (Eduardo Mondlane University) and Citrus Research International (South Africa) will run over five years (2019-2023) and aims to address a number of important questions for sustainable food production. More specifically, this project (DISPEST) will investigate the dispersal of fruit fly pests and use the resultant information to determine management units or areas that we can priorities and potentially manage together by using barriers to movement in the landscape. As part of the project a MSc and PhD student will be funded and a workshop on advanced morphological and molecular identification of African fruit fly (Tephritidae) pests will be hosted in our Department.
Lab end of year drinks at Lanzerac celebrating a challenging year completed!
Our recent paper in Scientific Reports by Chris Weldon and colleagues has been reported on in The Conversation.
Congratulations to Dr. Welma Pieterse on receiving her PhD in fruit fly systematics, taxonomy and ecophysiology!
Cum Laude Congratulations to Sinead O’Toole and Erika Opperman on their completion and graduation of their Master’s degrees with well-deserved distinctions! Good luck to Sinead as she heads for the open water. Erika will be staying on at the APE lab as a PhD student working on landscape genetics of a major agricultural fruit pest, the notorious FCM!
Welcome to the new postgraduate students of the APE Lab Henriek Bosua and Amy Collop, and also to our new international visitors and postdocs Marion Javal and Philipp Lehmann!
John delivered his inaugural address entitled “Causes and consequences of insect physiological diversity” on 19th October at Stellenbosch University. Pictured here are Prof. Danie Brink (Dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences), John, Prof. Karen Esler (Head of Department), and Prof. Eugene Cloete (Vice-Rector Research and Innovation).
A big good luck to Saskia Thomas who heads off to Germany to represent South Africa in the international climbing competition arena, before heading to 3+ months of fieldwork in Zambia!
John attended the recent 16th international symposium on insect-plant relationships SIP2017 meeting held in Tours, France in July to give a keynote lecture on insect responses to climatic variability. It was a productive and stimulating visit, with several fascinating discussions with various folks on insect microclimates and climate change responses on plants! It was also a super opportunity to catch up with some old friends, but also to finally get to meet researchers whose work I read regularly and are producing superb papers, but have never actually met in person!
Non-native invasive insects have major impacts on ecosystem function, agricultural production and human health. To make better predictions of where such species may establish and invade, species distribution models (SDMs) are widely used tools to predict potential distributions and invasion extents across new geographical areas. – Read more here
In collaboration with Prof. Susana Clusella-Trullas (Department Botany and Zoology, SU) and Prof. Marshall McCue (St Mary’s University, Texas, USA), John helped co-organize a one-day ‘Stable Isotopes in Invasion Biology’ workshop that was attended by 35 post-graduate students from several institutions across South Africa, hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology.
ICE 2016 – talks and sessions by John, Maddie Barton, Leigh Boardman (now at UFL) and Minette Karsten, and a strong turnout of socially awkward entomologists!
Aga Gudowska’s paper published in Journal of Experimental Biology
Vernon Steyn’s paper published in Proceedings B
Prof. John Terblanche hosted an international IAEA workshop at SU in April 2016 on methods and techniques for dormancy management of insects in his Applied Physiological Ecology Lab. Prof. Terblanche is actively involved in two separate IAEA-funded co-ordinated research programs (CRP) investigating novel approaches and methods for increased performance of laboratory reared insects for release in sterile insect programmes.
In a major advance for the understanding of insect invasions, a special issue in the journal Biological Invasions was published in 2016 (Guest editors: postdoctoral fellow Matt Hill, together with Prof. Dave Richardson (C.I.B) , Prof. John Terblanche and Prof. Susana Clusella-Trullas (Dept of Botany and Zoology). A collection of 13 articles from a diverse group of national and international scientists working across different aspects of entomological and biological invasions highlights what makes insect invasions unique and where future research efforts should be focused.
Prof. John Terblanche successfully completed a Canada-Africa Research Exchange Grant with Prof. Phil Matthews at the University of British Columbia which examined how insect’s sense and respond to ambient atmospheric gases (CO2, O2) by means of respiratory chemoreceptors. The exchange culminated in producing an authorative review on the evolution of insect respiratory gas exchange published in Advances in Insect Physiology . Read more here
Older lab news
Maddie’s first paper from her post-doc, a microclimate model for bollworm, has now been published in Austral Entomology. Click here for a link to the paper
Elsje’s paper on developmental temperature impacts on adult water balance in Eldana has just been published in the Journal of Insect Physiology. Click here for a link to the paper
Elsje Kleynhans’ paper on evolved variation of chill coma onset temperature among Eldana populations has just been published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Click here for the link to the article
Leigh Boardman had a paper published on heat shock proteins in sub-Antarctic marine invertebrates with Susana’s research group. – Read more here
Matt Hill’s (slightly controversial) paper on Bactrocera invadens and niche overlap among Bactrocera species has just been published. The article is freely available here.
Well done to Elsje Kleynhans for having two papers published this past week – one from her Master’s research on tsetse and environmental variability and the role of phenotypic plasticity and the other from her PhD research on Eldana stalk borers which examines host-plant effects on thermal tolerance.
The APE and CLIME labs did a great weekend away at Landroskop Hut in early December 2013.
Congratulations (and welcome) to Vernon Steyn who joins the lab to work with Kate Mitchell and I on dispersal genetics of invasive fruit flies. Vernon also won double funding from the CIB and NRF for his project.
Congratulations to Dr Matt Hill for securing a prestigious CIB post-doc scholarship to re-focus his research more on invasions and insects.