The project will investigate the population genetic consequences of the dramatic declines observed in insect diversity and abundance, and the potential consequences for their ability to perform ecosystem services such as pollination and natural pest control. Insects are vital components of most terrestrial ecosystems. We are currently experiencing large population declines in insects due to anthropogenic causes, such as intensified land use, habitat loss and fragmentation, but we know very little about the implications for genetic diversity. Loss of genetic diversity can amplify population extinction and reduce the diversity and crucial ecosystem services and functions that insects perform. We will thus investigate the link between population size, genetic diversity, and the ability of insects to perform their natural important ecological roles.
The project "The missing link: unraveling the role of genetic variation of beneficial arthropods in agroecosystems" is led by Trine Bilde (Aarhus University) in collaboration with Philip Francis Thomsen (Aarhus University), Greta Bocedi (University of Aberdeen) and Marjo Saastamoinen (University of Helsinki). It receives in total an 8 million euros research grant from The Novo Nordisk Foundation as part of their ‘Challenge Programme 2020 – Life Science Research (Biodiversity & productivity of managed ecosystems)’.