ANNEX1-Eligible_Research_Projects

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ANNEX1-Eligible_Research_Projects
ANNEX 1: Eligible research projects Title of project Project summary Specific applicant requirements Determination of semiochemical basis of repellency of zebra to tsetse flies Tsetse flies and other biting flies are of great medical and veterinary importance because of their ability to transmit pathogens that cause infectious diseases in humans and livestock. A natural repellent has been identified in waterbuck, an un-­‐preferred vertebrate that is present in tsetse habitats. This natural repellant has been used to protect cattle from tsetse bites and reduce disease levels. However, new repellents from other un-­‐preferred hosts, e.g. zebra, also need to be identified and their efficacy in protecting cattle and man from tsetse bites evaluated. This PhD project aims to identify natural tsetse repellants from the zebra, then synthesize the repellants, and develop and optimize repellent blends. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. Effective control methods of the varroa mite has become more difficult since the appearance and spread of acaricide resistant populations. The use of semiochemical-­‐based pest management techniques provide an environmentally friendly alternative approach. This PhD project seeks to exploit key host-­‐finding chemical cues that mediate invasion to trap and kill phoretic mites or to disrupt their cell invasion behaviours through the development of an effective in-­‐hive trapping system. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. Bees provide ecosystem services to adjoining croplands through pollination. Habitat loss can lead to drastic increases in pollinator extinction rates, which are a potential risk to global food security and economic development. Changes in landscape structure and land use changes are considered to be the primary causes of the limitation of pollination services in agro-­‐ecological systems in Africa. Herein the largest knowledge gap is the understanding of how foraging behavior and cross-­‐pollination will be altered with changing land cover and land use. This PhD project will help to fill the existing gaps by linking in situ observations on pollen sources, foraging behavior and hive productivity to landscape structural metrics from remote sensing. Two semi-­‐arid savanna study sites in Kenya will be investigated. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. MSc in organic chemistry Development of a semiochemical-­‐based in-­‐
hive trapping system for management of varroa mites in African honeybees Investigating the link between landscape and pollination effects for enhanced crop production ARPPIS 2015 Eligible Research Projects MSc in organic chemistry MSc in environmental management with a focus on remote sensing and GIS and basic knowledge beneficial insects. Knowledge on landscape valuation modeling and pollination and/or bee ecology is an added advantage. 1 Title of project Project summary Specific applicant requirements The insect-­‐endosymbiotic Spiroplasmas of Anopheles mosquitoes and their effects on host vectorial capacity The development of alternative strategies that do not rely on the use of insecticides is critical for the future control and elimination of vector-­‐borne diseases in Africa. One of the most promising alternative vector management strategies involves endosymbiontic bacteria that decrease the vectoral capacity of their hosts. These endosymbionts can be disseminated through insect populations and by virtue of vertical transmission (mother to offspring) present a more sustainable strategy for the control of vector-­‐borne disease transmission than conventional methods. This PhD project will investigate interactions between anopheline mosquitoes and endosymbiotic bacteria in the genus Spiroplasma, which confer protection against parasites for numerous insects. Anopheline mosquitoes are the principal vectors of Plasmodium species that cause malaria in humans. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. Switching insecticides when resistance to mosquitoes is detected is routinely done to control vector populations, but is limited by few insecticide options, and the development of multiple-­‐insecticide resistance in some locales makes it unsustainable. Thus evidence-­‐based insecticide resistance management is required for resistance detection, monitoring and management by malaria control programs. This PhD project aims to determine the prevalence and undertake functional characterisation of insecticide resistance in A. gambiae s.s. in the malaria-­‐endemic Western Kenya region, and their effect on malaria transmission. This PhD project will improve our understanding of A. gambiae ss insecticide non-­‐susceptibility by using genomic and transcriptomic approaches to identify genetic polymorphisms associated with resistance phenotypes. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi, with travel to the icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus, Mbita Point, western Kenya. Citrus fruits rank among the world’s major fruit crops, ranking first in trade value among all fruits -­‐ and significantly contributes to global food and nutritional security. In East Africa, Kenya and Tanzania are the major producers. However, yields are poor -­‐ the result of pests and diseases. The African citrus triozid (ACT) Trioza erytreae, which vectors the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease [caused by the phloem-­‐limited bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter africanus], is economically very important. The HLB disease is one of the most devastating for citrus worldwide without a remedy. This PhD project will investigate the chemo-­‐
ecological interactions within ACT, and between ACT and its citrus hosts, to develop semiochemical based attractants and repellents for its management. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. MSc in molecular biology or related field. Capacity to conduct independent scientific research in one or more of the following fields: molecular biology, bioinformatics, entomology and microbiology. Functional characterisation of insecticide resistance in Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto in the malaria endemic regions of western Kenya. Development of semiochemical-­‐based tools for the management of the African citrus trizoid (ACT) Trioza erytreae ARPPIS 2015 Eligible Research Projects MSc in bioinformatics or computational biology. General knowledge of basic biological principles. An undergraduate degree in biological sciences and previous insect biology research experience is an added advantage. MSc in organic chemistry 2 Title of project Project summary Specific applicant requirements A comprehensive pheromone and population genetics analyses of the brown spiny bugs Clavigralla species group in Africa. Yields of cowpea and beans are seriously constrained by abiotic and biotic stresses. Among the most important is the brown spiny bugs Clavigralla species group. Damage due to Clavigralla spp. can yield losses up to 100% in various parts of Africa. There are no good sources of resistance against this pest in cultivated cowpea and common bean germplasm. The development of bio-­‐control using aggregation pheromones is an attractive alternative. This PhD project will elucidate the nature of aggregation pheromones and their profile in Clavigralla spp., and determine if they are pure male aggregation pheromones or if sexual pheromones are also involved, and compare these profiles with population genetic studies of Clavigralla species across tropical Africa for better targeting of biological control interventions. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. Brachiaria varieties are indigenous to eastern, central and southern Africa as natural constituents of grasslands and are adapted to low soil fertility. They are extensively grown to provide high quality forage for livestock. Some species such as Brachiaria brizantha have unique characteristics that make them potential trap (“pull”) plants for management of cereal stemborer pests in a push-­‐pull system. However there is a need to screen Brachiaria and other grasses for their adaptability to diverse conditions in different agro-­‐ecological zones. For example, grasses need to be identified that are drought-­‐tolerant, that can establish quickly and be attractive to the targeted insect herbivores, are palatable and nutritious to livestock, and able to produce large quantities of viable seed or other propagules. This PhD project will take advantage of the high genetic diversity in Brachiaria germplasm and other grasses, to select cultivars with improved resistance to biotic and abiotic stress and to understand their phytochemical properties for management of stemborers in the push-­‐pull system. The scholar will be based at the icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus, Mbita Point, western Kenya. MSc in organic chemistry/molecular biology or insect ecology Understanding agronomic and phytochemical properties of Brachiaria and other grasses for use in management of cereal stemborers in East Africa under different climate change scenarios ARPPIS 2015 Eligible Research Projects MSc in agricultural entomology, chemical ecology, chemistry, agronomy, or in a related field. Experience with agronomic evaluation of plant traits is an added advantage. 3 Title of project Project summary Specific applicant requirements Managing Huanglongbing (HLB) disease of citrus in Kenya and Tanzania: Incidence, severity and spatio-­‐temporal patterns of distribution and impact of disease on vector competence African citrus triozid (ACT), T. erytreae, is regarded as the most damaging pest of citrus. Moreover, ACT is known for the transmission of the devastating phloem-­‐limited bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter africanus that is responsible for citrus greening or Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, regarded as the worst disease of citrus. In Kenya and Tanzania, HLB is reported to have had the greatest impact on citrus production, especially in the highlands, yet there is no documented scientific information on the incidence, distribution and spatio-­‐temporal progress of disease spread. Similarly, there are no records of alternative host plants in Kenya and Tanzania to guide the development of management methods. Information on the maximum dispersal capability for HLB infective and non-­‐infective ACT would be useful to determine safe isolation distance for quarantine purposes. Similarly, understanding the role of pathogen on the fitness parameters of the vector will be useful in limiting disease spread. Temporal stochastic models that are able to parse disease spread over time using likelihood estimates of the primary and secondary infection foci will be essential tools to better guide the implementation of appropriate management methods. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. The false codling moth (FCM) Thaumatotibia leucotreta is one of the major constraints to citrus production. In Tanzania, citrus crops, particularly sweet orange, is recognized as an important cash crop for small and medium-­‐
scale farmers, but fruit damage of up to 35% by FCM is reported. Information on the bio-­‐ecology of FCM and natural enemies is crucial for sound and sustainable management of this pest. This PhD project will establish the genetic diversity, distribution, host range, dynamics, and damage levels of T. leucotreta in Tanzania, catalogue natural enemies and determine their efficiency in suppressing T. leucotreta, and conduct life table studies and develop predictive phenology models for T. leucotreta. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. This PhD project aims to explore the potential efficacy of entomopathogenic fungi isolated from cacao leaves in combination with CO2 for termite control in cacao, as an alternative to organochlorine (cyclodiene) insecticides. Based on the findings that the diversity of fungal endophytes differs with land use management and environmental factors, we hypothesize that these endophytes, isolated from cacao leaves may be good biological control candidates against termites when associated with CO2, which termites use to locate food sources. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi with travel to Cameroon. Recent MSc in biochemistry/biotechnology/molecul
ar biology; BSc degree in biochemistry/biotechnology Bio-­‐ecology of the false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta and its associated natural enemies on citrus in Tanzania and implication for its management Biological control of soil-­‐
dwelling pests in cacao agroforests using encapsulated CO2 impregnated with endophytic fungi ARPPIS 2015 Eligible Research Projects Recent MSc in entomology; BSc in agriculture/biological sciences MSc in applied entomology or agro-­‐
ecology; BSc in agriculture/biological sciences 4 Title of project Project summary Specific applicant requirements Characterising the mechanisms by which the push-­‐pull system promotes improvement of soil health and to arthropod biodiversity Soils become severely degraded when they have been extensively used for subsistence agriculture over many years without inputs of N, P, organic carbon or micronutrients. The adoption of push-­‐pull technology, a strategy for controlling agricultural pests, which includes the perennial mixed cropping of a grass and legume species, provides ground cover, protection against soil erosion and water loss, introduction of soil organic carbon, nitrogen fixation and potential benefits to soil P availability through undisturbed perennial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal networks. The mixed crops also provide food and shelter for biodiversity that contributes to the system and provides resilience against pathogens, pests and weeds. Preliminary findings indicate improved abundance and diversity of soil arthropods in the push-­‐pull fields. Additionally, some preliminary studies have also indicated improved nitrogen content in the soils under desmodium, a “push” plant used in the push-­‐pull system. This PhD project will quantify and characterize soil health improvement and biodiversity under push-­‐pull and to provide data for the farming community by which adoption of the technology may be based. The scholar will be based at the icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus, Mbita Point, western Kenya. The ecological footprint represents the minimum amount of land necessary to provide the basic energy and material flows required by the economy. In particular, it represents the human pressure on the planet in terms of direct and indirect population demand for land and water, comparing resource depletion and waste absorption with how much is available on the planet (bio-­‐capacity) on both local and global scales. The overall goal of this PhD project is to gain more insight into the environmental impact of food losses using the ecological footprint in the maize and common beans value chains in Kenya in order to provide credible scientific evidence for decision makers and suggest improvements at the most important environmental hotspots. The project will perform rigorous analysis of the postharvest losses occurring due to insect pests along the maize and common beans value chains in Kenya, assess the ecological footprint of the postharvest losses along the maize and common bean value chains and to identify the parts of the value chain that have the highest ecological footprint, and to compare the ecological footprint of the strategies and technologies proposed to mitigate insects' postharvest losses along the maize and common bean value chains. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. Skills in an area of soil science that includes biology or chemistry. A meticulous attitude is important, as well as excellent record keeping experience to enable reliable sampling methods. Analytical chemistry is and added advantage. Ecological footprint of postharvest losses due to insect pests along the maize and common bean value chains in Kenya ARPPIS 2015 Eligible Research Projects MSc in Post Harvest or Food Science and Technology; Experience in post-­‐
harvest loss assessment; Publications in post-­‐harvest loss assessment is an added advantage. 5 Title of project Project summary Specific applicant requirements Plant odours with potential for a push-­‐pull strategy in Kenya to protect beans against Megalurothrips sjostedti Plant odours are a very promising tool to protect vegetable crops against thrips species in a push-­‐pull strategy. Essential oils from different plant species are an important source of repellents. However, detailed knowledge about the behavioural response of the target pest to the specific compound is the precondition for successful utilization of biologically active secondary plant compounds in crop protection strategies. This PhD project aims to identify and characterize, first in the laboratory then in the field, potential companion plants from Kenya producing one or more of these repellent compounds to evaluate their efficacy on green beans in Kenya in a push-­‐pull strategy based on the use of insect net and insect trap with entomopathogenic fungi. The objective is to identify local plants that could release regularly enough repellent volatiles to reduce a thrips population on green beans and which could be associated with a bean crop. The aim is to provide farmers a push pull strategy for protecting green beans against thrips to complement the visual and physical barrier of an insect net. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. This PhD project aims to improve the quality and production of coffee in Kenya by developing agronomic and pest control recommendations targeting smallholder coffee farmers. The project will use our previous experience in the bioecology of major coffee pests as well as new data from large field surveys (on coffee production and quality, farmer practices, agroecological conditions and pests and diseases) to develop model-­‐based risk analysis tools for major coffee pests in eastern Africa. The scholar will be based at the icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi. MSc in biological sciences; experience in insect sciences. Improvement of Arabica coffee quality and productivity in East Africa through the development of a risk analysis tool for major insect pests MSc in Entomology, Plant Health or other relevant field; BSc in Agricultural/biological Sciences; Experience with ecosystem characterization, biodiversity studies and modeling is an added advantage. ARPPIS 2015 Eligible Research Projects 6 

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