Trichogramma (genus Trichogramma) are micro wasps (<1mm), oophagous parasitoids, widely used in biological control as a substitute for insecticides. They are used in particular to control the corn borer and other Lepidoptera pests. Trichogramma lay their eggs in the eggs of their hosts and develop there, causing the death of the latter. In order to optimise their deployment in biological control, it is essential to understand how these parasitoids disperse and explore their environment in search of host eggs.
In the laboratory, we have more than 20 strains of Trichogramma cacoeciae whose dispersal capacities are being characterised in 2021. The aim of this internship is to further characterise the dispersal capacities of these strains in the laboratory. To do so, the dispersal of groups of Trichogramma will be considered at two different spatial scales: the micro-scale (a few centimetres) of behavioural ecology, and a meso-scale (several metres) closer to realistic conditions. This dual approach will make it possible to identify the most dispersive versus the most sedentary strains and to quantify the genetic variability of dispersal capacities within these lines, with a view to selecting new, more efficient strains. In addition, the study of the correlation between the results obtained at the two scales will make it possible to evaluate the robustness of the predictions and the reliability of the scale transfers. These results will ultimately be compared with measurements of dispersal capacity and efficiency in the field, as part of the Trichomove project.

The trainee will conduct experiments with insects, using automatic image analysis techniques (video tracking) and the associated statistical analyses. He/she will also participate in field experiments, under greenhouses, which will take place during the months of June to August 2022, with, weather permitting, a start on the analysis of field data. Laboratory and field data obtained the previous year are in any case already available to start analysis. The trainee will work in the M2P2 team (Models and Methods for Plant Protection), in support of an ongoing thesis (Trichomove).

Profile required: interest in insect biology and behavioural ecology; rigour, organisation, autonomy and precision in experimental work (meticulousness and patience are required); basic skills in data handling and statistical analysis with R software; sense of teamwork.

Supervisors: Mélina Cointe (PhD student) and Vincent Calcagno (Research Director)

Location and duration of the internship:
This internship will take place at the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute of the INRAE PACA centre, in Sophia Antipolis. It could take place over a period of 6 months, from the end of February/beginning of March 2022.

Remuneration :
This internship comes with a monthly bonus at the statutory rate of 3.90€ per hour worked on a 35h weekly basis (573.30€ monthly approximately). Possibility of accommodation on site, subject to availability.
How to apply? Please send a CV and a letter of motivation to: [email protected] and [email protected]

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