Peter Karssemeijer wins the East-West Seed graduation award for Plant Sciences. The jury praises the clarity of Peter’s descriptions, his methodology and statistical processing of the acquired data. He received this young talent graduation prize for his research into the interaction between black mustard plants, three species of aphids and two species of pollinators. This study teaches us that some pests may have a beneficial effect for plants.

Plants defend themselves against insect herbivory, for instance by producing specific toxins or antifeedants. These self-defense mechanisms can have interesting side effects on other insects that live on the same plant. This type of interaction has until now been researched mainly for young plants, before they start flowering. Peter’s research was novel in several aspects. He studied flowering plants and the effects on pollinators.

Pollinators are indispensable for production and reproduction of many vegetable crops. Peter’s research provides deeper insights into agricultural ecosystems that can be utilized for more sustainable food production. He has started his PhD to continue his research.

The East-West Seed Graduation Prize for Plant Sciences was awarded to Peter by Maaike Groot, Manager Public Affairs for East-West Seed.

East West Afstudeerprijs