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Island Biodiversity, Biogeography & Conservation - IBBC
Island Arthropod Macroecology


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Email: noelline.tsafack@gmail.com

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Post-Doc Researcher

Noelline Tsafack Menessong

Insect ecology, biodiversity conservation, pest management and landscape ecology are the main scientific themes that frame my research interests. How the environment impacts insect community function, structure and composition is the main question of my work. I conducted research in West African and European agro-ecosystems and in Northern China grasslands. Regarding the ongoing climate change and the growing impact of human activities, I give particular attention to the investigation of the consequences of anthropogenic disturbances on the community structures and ecosystem functioning.

I received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Agronomy from Toulouse INP, at School of Agronomy, ENSAT, in 2014. During my thesis, I developed research on pest management using landscape ecology. I investigated how agricultural practices and landscape features influence the population dynamics of the cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). I investigated in separate studies the drivers of an isolated H. armigera outbreaks and the drivers of a delayed infestation. Interviewing with cotton farmers in northern Benin gave me great insights into African local agricultural practices. Measuring infestation in cotton fields and recording landcover around allowed me to design (with GIS tools) the landscape map of the study area. I used pheromone and light traps to investigate the population dynamics of H. armigera. We found that agricultural practices were the most important variables that determine the abundance of H. armigera larvae in cotton fields. In the case of an isolated outbreak, we found that delaying the sowing date and increasing the frequency of weeding reduced the abundance of H. armigera in cotton fields. The study also highlighted the role of former landcover. In the case of a delayed outbreak, we found that a scale of at least 500 m was the best scale to investigate the abundance and larval diet of H. armigera. Also, we found that host plant diversity was the main landscape factor explaining the abundance of H. armigera. However, the effect of the host plants (cotton, corn or sorghum) considered individually was less strong and varied according to the landscape scale and the year considered. The results were published in two articles1,2.

At the University of Ningxia, in the northern China, during my postdoctoral position 2018-2020, I developed researches in steppes ecosystems, investigating patterns and drivers of various aspects of carabid beetle (Coleoptera Carabidae) communities structure, including species composition, diversity, stability and functional diversity3,4. My first objective was to understand the influence of local habitat features. I also, investigated landscape drivers of carabids abundance and for the first time determined the appropriate vegetation index and spatial scale in this type of environment (arid steppes)5. My last studies focused on modelling methods. I investigated the use of species abundance distribution (SAD) models to depict the commonness and rarity of carabid species. I also investigated niche overlaps and species co-occurrences in the communities. These studies are under review.

I am very excited to join the IBBC group of cE3c. I started early January a postdoctorate position. My studies are part of the LIFE BEETLES project with Teresa Ferreira, Paulo Borges and many other colleagues. Currently, I am investigating arthropod communities in forests ecosystems of the Azores islands. Using a large biodiversity dataset (both on vegetation and arthropods) collected over two decades, I will investigate diversity patterns and determine if these patterns vary according to the conservation levels of protected areas. We will then focus on endemic species which seem to be the most threatened species. The long-term objective is to optimize conservation strategies for threatened species first and then to extend these measures to other species following their classification in the IUCN Red List.

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