International Day for Biological Diversity
When asked “What is biodiversity to you?” most people may think of a nice colorful meadow with many different flowering plants and insects buzzing around. However, in this colorful meadow, there is also a hidden component of biodiversity, which we study in the research group “Plant Biotic interactions” at IGZ.
Plants communicate with their environment through chemical compounds. Plants do this to survive. In their natural environment, they are confronted with a large diversity of organisms, for example, bees, caterpillars and pathogenic fungi. Each of these organisms responds to a different ‘chemical language’. This means that plants must produce a wide range of chemicals, for example, to defend themselves from being eaten by a very hungry caterpillar or to attract bees for pollination.
In the research group "Plant Biotic Interactions", we are interested in the chemical biodiversity that plays a role in interactions between plants and the many harmful or beneficial organisms in their environment. We aim to understand the ecological role of plant chemical diversity in biotic interactions. Moreover, we want to understand how we can use this chemical biodiversity for sustainable plant production. If our crops would defend themselves with natural compounds, we could reduce the use of synthetic pesticides in agriculture. This way we help to preserve biodiversity and the important functions it performs.
More info on the research group can be found here: "Plant Biotic Interactions".
Additionally, the IGZ is part of the Leibniz Research Network Biodiversity.