News

Call for a research fellowship for a PhD student on Project EcoPestSupression

Come work with us in Lisbon @cE3cResearch (https://ce3c.ciencias.ulisboa.pt/.../bats-and-birds-in...) on the role of birds and bats as suppressors of rice insect pests in West Africa.


Project EcoPestSupression: Conserving biodiversity and enhancing food security: the role of birds and bats as suppressors of rice insect pests in West Africa” financed by national funds by the Foundation for Science and Technology / MCTES (PIDDAC) under the programme SR&TD Projects in all Scientific Domains is awarding a research fellowship for a PhD student (for 6 months, potentially renewed for 27 months). **Applications until 21 Feb 2022.**

See full announcements here:
https://www.euraxess.pt/jobs/739780

http://www.fc.ul.pt/pt/concursos (nr. 3834)


Project summary: Feeding a rapidly increasing human population in an environmentally sustainable way poses a major global challenge. Efforts to maximize crop yields fuel agricultural intensification, exacerbating the global biodiversity crisis. Sub-Saharan Africa shows the highest rates of population growth. Food security is a serious issue, often driven by the introduction of invasive pest species and shifts in land use patterns, as the expansion of cash crops at the expense of subsistence crops such as rice. One way to increase agricultural production is closing existing yield gaps through ecological intensification by including ecosystem services (ES) and using nature-based solutions in agricultural management. Natural pest suppression is a significant regulating ES contributing to crop productivity worldwide. Replacing bad practices such as pesticides with biological agents of pest suppression should be a key priority for supporting food production in developing countries. Insectivorous bats and birds have been demonstrated to directly reduce pest infestation rates and thus increase crop productivity in agroecosystems. Still, although recent studies have highlighted the economic value associated with pest suppression by bats in cotton crops in the USA, similar attempts at valuation are rare for tropical agroecosystems and seldom target essential food crops. Our main goal is to assess the relative contribution of bat- and bird-mediated suppression of rice insect pests and provide an economic valuation of their ES. The study will focus on Guinea-Bissau (GB). However, rice is an important staple crop also in West Africa, if not globally.

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