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Léo ROCHER's thesis defence: Wednesday 10 April 2024 at 2:30 pm - amphitheatre of the Avignon University Institute of Technology (IUT)

After 3 years of work on the influence of grassing between vine rows on auxiliary arthropodswe are delighted to invite you to the thesis defence from Léo ROCHERentitled : "Identification of vegetation parameters favouring beneficial arthropods and associated ecological functions in viticulture: a correlative and experimental approach", which visit will take place on Wednesday 10 April at 2.30pm, within the IUT amphitheatre.

Summary of thesis:

The decline in biodiversity in agro-ecosystems is largely attributed to the rise of modern agriculture. The main causes are the destruction of semi-natural structures, the extension of the size of agricultural plots and the intensive use of inputs. Arthropods play an important role in enhancing essential ecosystem services such as pest regulation and pollination. Vegetation is a key factor in encouraging their presence. Plants provide crucial food resources and habitats for arthropods. To encourage these organisms in agro-ecosystems and restore the associated ecological functions, practices such as the introduction of semi-natural structures are relevant. In permanent crops such as vineyards, such structures can be set up within the plots. In the Mediterranean region, vineyard inter-row management often involves eliminating uncultivated vegetation for reasons of water competition and to control plant species considered harmful.

The aim of this thesis work is to gain a better understanding of how inter-row vegetation can encourage the presence of beneficial arthropods and the predation function, while limiting the proliferation of harmful plant species in Mediterranean vineyards (Luberon, France). Three main research questions were posed: (1) Does the presence of grass cover and its floristic composition influence the presence of ants, important players in the predation function in vines? (2) Which functional groups in the vegetation are linked to the abundance of predatory and pollinating arthropods and the predation function? (3) Does diversified and local grass cover increase the presence of beneficial arthropods, improve the predation function and limit the establishment of problem plant species?

In the first chapter we studied the response of ants to grass cover in 23 vineyards. Ants play a crucial role in predation in Mediterranean vineyards (Luberon, France). We tested the effect of three vegetation management methods on the diversity and frequency of ants: inter-row grassing, partial grassing and no grassing. We showed that the partially grassed vineyards had a greater diversity of ants than the non-grassed vineyards. Grass cover and the presence of perennial plants positively influenced ant richness, suggesting the importance of taking these factors into account in vegetation management. In the second chapter, we examined which characteristics of spontaneous vegetation influence beneficial arthropods and the predation function in 37 vineyards. We found that nectariferous flower cover and plant species richness favoured most groups of beneficial arthropods, as well as the predation function. These results highlight the importance of floral resources and plant diversity in favouring the presence of the arthropods studied. Finally, the last chapter is devoted to a sowing experiment and its monitoring over two years. Three types of grassing were compared: high-diversity sowing, spontaneous vegetation and inter-rows without vegetation. In line with the second chapter, our results highlight the positive effects of plant richness and flower cover on weed control, the abundance of beneficial arthropods and the predation function. All the results of this thesis work converge and highlight the importance of considering different vegetation parameters to favour beneficial arthropods in viticulture.

Mots-clefs : Fourmis, Agroécologie, Écologie des communautés, Viticulture durable, Habitats semi-naturels, Services écosystémiques, Arthropodes, Prédation, Espèces indésirables Léo"

lecture by Clémentine Mutillod entitled "Is the grass always greener elsewhere? The effects of the return of wild horses (Equus ferus przewalski) to the Mongolian steppe".

Photo of wild horses on the Mongolian steppe.

Thursday 11 April 2024, from 1pm to 2pm, as part of the Midisciences organised by Avignon Universityour colleague Clémentine Mutillod (IMBE doctoral student - IUT d'Avignon) will give a talk entitled "Is the grass always greener elsewhere? The effects of the return of wild horses (Equus ferus przewalski) on the Mongolian steppe".

"In 2004 and 2005, Przewalski's horses - considered to be the last wild horse in the world - were reintroduced into their original area, the steppes of Mongolia, in an enclosed reserve covering 14,000 ha. Following an initial monitoring of the flora inside and outside this reserve in 2010, a second field campaign was carried out in 2023, as part of the thesis of Clémentine Mutillod thanks to Avignon University, the Société Française d'Écologie et d'Évolution, the Khomyn Talyn Takhi association and the Takh Association.

A look back at the two months spent on site, between scientific surveys and natural and cultural discoveries.

So come one, come all to attend in theCERI Ada Lovelace amphitheatre, Jean-Henri Fabre Campus or live on theUniversity of Avignon.

To find out more, click here

Reception of Dr P. Valentina CARRASCO CARBALLIDO by the IMBE of the IUT and Avignon University

This academic year, Avignon University and the IMBE are welcoming lecturer and researcher Dr. P. Valentina Carrasco Carballido.

A Mexican national, Valentina works at the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM), at the Biodiversity and Conservation Research Centre (CIBYC, Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación) in the Sustainable Management for Ecosystem Conservation and Development research team.

Its main line of research concerns ecological restoration with the participation of local communities.

Valentina will be on the Avignon Université IUT premises until June 2024. She benefits from an incoming mobility grant from Avignon Université.
 


e-mails: carrasco@uaem.mx and patricia-valentina.carrasco-carballido@univ-avignon.fr

The wild horses of the Causse Méjean at the service of biodiversity by Clémentine MUTILLOD

Article from the newspaper "la Marseillaise

Ecology researcher Clémentine MUTILLOD (IMBE IUT Avignon UNIVERSITY)

Representative photo of a plain with galloping horses.

 "... rewilding is nonetheless a complementary approach to ecological restoration".
GoodPlanetMag

Restoring ecosystems or rewilding: what is the best approach for restoring an ecosystem disturbed by human activities?

The issue is the subject of much debate among scientists and environmentalists.

A recent study published in the journal Biological Conservation in February 2024 provides some answers.

In particular, the scientists compared the impact on grassland ecosystems in France. They compared the repercussions for the environment of the introduction of a wild herbivorous mammal, in this case Przewalski's horse with those of domesticated mammals such as sheep and horses.

In this interview, the doctoral student at IMBE (IUT Avignon) Clémentine Mutillod explains this research.

For more information

The IUT d'Avignon Université congratulates Clémentine Mutillod on this brilliant achievement.