Saskya van Nouhuys

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Associate Professor
Name: Saskya van Nouhuys
Affiliations (Departments/Programs): 
Centre for Ecological Sciences
Research Areas: 
Population ecology, community ecology, behavioral ecology
Habitat fragmentation, spatial ecology, population dynamics, multitrophic interactions, host-parasite interactions

I am broadly interested in ecology and evolutionary biology. More specifically I focus on the roles of species interactions for population and community dynamics, and vice versa. Much of the research in my lab is focused on the effects of the spatial configuration of the environment on the dynamics of populations and structures of communities of interacting species. We test ecological theory using detailed study of the physiology, behavior and natural history of species, monitoring of interacting species in the wild, and population genetics tools.

I am especially (but not exclusively) interested in species interactions involving parasitoid wasps and their insect hosts. Species influence each other both directly and through intermediaries. For instance the effects of host plant chemical defense moves through the food chain through herbivores, diseases and parasitoids and symbionts. Because plant qualities differ spatially and temporally they can cause higher tropic level population sizes to vary, and community structure to be spatially heterogeneous. In our lab we approach these multi-step interactions mechanistically through manipulative experiments and observational studies.

Ecological concepts that we address are:

1) Metapopulation theory in which the negative impact of habitat fragmentation increases with tropic level because higher trophic level species experience increasingly unstable resource availability. 2) Intraspecific vs interspecific competition in insect communities, 3) Multitrophic impact of plant chemical defense 4) The role of spatial memory for insect foraging behavior on a landscape scale. 5) The context dependency of symbiotic relationships 6) The impact of invasive species on trophically structured communities 7) Applying ecological theory to insect pest control in agricultural landscapes.

Selected Publications: 

Wang, S., Brose, U., van Nouhuys, S., Holt, R. D. and Loreau, M. 2021. Metapopulation capacity determines food chain length in fragmented landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118, e2102733118

Duplouy, A., Nair, A., Nyman, T., van Nouhuys, S. 2021. Long-term spatiotemporal genetic structure of an accidental parasitoid introduction, and local changes in prevalence of its associated Wolbachia symbiont. Molecular Ecology, 30, 4368-4380

Opedal, Ø., Ovaskainen, O., Saastamoinen, M., Laine, A-L., van Nouhuys, S. 2020. Host plant availability drives the spatio-temporal dynamics of interacting metapopulations across a fragmented landscape. Ecology, 101(12):e03186. 10.1002/ecy.3186

Nair, A., Nonaka , E., van Nouhuys, S. 2018. Increased fluctuation in a butterfly metapopulation leads to diploid males and decline of a hyperparasitoid. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 285: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0372

Kahilainen, A., van Nouhuys, S., Schulz, T. & Saastamoinen, M. 2018. Metapopulation dynamics in a changing climate: Increasing spatial synchrony in weather conditions drives metapopulation synchrony of a butterfly inhabiting a fragmented landscape. Global Change Biology, 24: 10.1111/gcb.14280

Roslin T, Hardwick B, Novotny V, Petry WK, Andrew NR, Asmus A, Barrio IC, Basset Y, Boesing AL, Bonebrake TC, Cameron EK, Dáttilo W, Donoso DA, Drozd P, Gray CL, Hik DS, Hill SJ, Hopkins T, Huang S, Koane B, Laird-Hopkins B, Laukkanen L, Lewis OT, Milne S, Mwesige I, Nakamura A, Nell CS, Nichols E, Prokurat A, Sam K, Schmidt NM, Slade A, Slade V, Suchanková A, Teder T, van Nouhuys S, Vandvik V, Weissflog A, Zhukovich V, Slade EM. 2017. Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes and elevations. Science, 356: 742-744

Kaiser, L., Ode, P., van Nouhuys, S., Calatayud, P., Colazza, S., Cortesero, A., Thiel, A., van Baaren, J. 2017. The plant as a habitat for entomophagous insects in Plant-Insect interations. Advances in Botanical Research Volume 81.

Montovan, K. J., Couchoux, C., Jones, L. E., Reeve, H. K., van Nouhuys, S. 2015. The puzzle of partial resource use by a parasitoid wasp. The American Naturalist, 185: 538–550