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PhD Thesis

Chemosensation and belowground host plant finding in Melolontha melolontha L. larvae
Freie Universität Berlin
Supervisor(s): Prof. Dr. B.S. Hansson
Co-Supervisor(s): Dr. A. Reinecke, Prof. Dr. M. Hilker (FU Berlin)

My research is mainly focused on agricultural insect pests and plant-animal interactions. Despite intensive studies on rhizophagous insect larvae due to their major economic and ecologic impact, little is known about chemical cues other than CO2 that guide the insects to host plant roots. The aim of my PhD project is to examine chemical cues for orientation of rhizophagous cockchafer larvae (Melolontha melolontha), and to study the importance of natural soil biota, e.g. mycorrhizal fungi, and soil type on larval orientation. Behavioural biotests are conducted in a soil arena, using dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as host plant.