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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs

Models and Methods for Plant Protection

The team aims at making plant protection more respectful of the environment through the development of innovative ecological pest management strategies. For that purpose, the team develops an interdisciplinary research program based on the concerted use of theoretical models and experiments to address specific issues from the individual to populations and agroecosystems.

Upper row, left to right: pepper plant for biocontrol assay with predatory mites, population dynamics (top) and a basic sterile insect technique (SIT) model with  impulsive releases (bottom), plant-nematode dynamical model scheme (top), european corn borer imago (bottom), four-way olfactomer developed in the team, fluid dynamics simulation (top), experimental assay with parasitoid wasps (path highlighted, bottom). Lower row, left to right : predatory mite  on textile fibers (colours inverted), the marginal value theorem when environmental quality changes, movement of parasitoid wasps in the double spiral experimental apparatus, parasitoid wasp Trichogramma cacoeciae.


Plant protection must shift to more environmentally friendly and sustainable methods. This shift requires the gradual abandoning of phytopharmaceutical chemicals, the design of more resilient agroecosystems taking advantage of natural feedbacks, and the development of ecological pest management programs. Achieving this ambition requires a better understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes at work within agroecosystems, encompassing the biotic-abiotic interface.

In this context, the team develops theoretical models and experiments, from individuals to populations, to unravel agroecosystems functioning and improve existing or infer new plant protection methods. Key research questions include: the behavior and population dynamics of arthropod pest-natural enemy systems, the epidemiology of plant pathogens and the management of plant resistance, as well as the optimization of biocontrol strategies.

M2P2 has close collaborations with other ISA teams on shared research topics: biological control and population introductions with BPI and RDLB, nematode population dynamics with IPN. M2P2 is also tightly linked to Inria (centre at Université Côte d'Azur) through the joint team Biocore for the modelling aspect of its research.


Understanding and exploiting multitrophic interactions 

  • Behavioral ecology of parasitoids - modelling, experiments.
  • Population dynamics: optimization of biocontrol deployment strategies, new biocontrol strategies, sterile insect technique - modelling, experiments. 
  • Epidemiology of plant diseases, plant resistance management - modelling.

Predicting and controling the adaptation of populations

  • Virulence evolution in plant pathogens and parasites - modelling.
  • Evolution of parasitoids (movement and response to organic volatiles) - modelling, experiments.


Modelling and computer sciences

  • Dynamical systems (ordinary differential equations, recurrent equations, hybrid systems, stochastic models, etc.).
  • Computer simulations (large scale dynamical systems, individual based models, etc.).
  • Control and optimization theory (optimal control theory, calculs of variations, etc.).
  • Statistics (hypothesis testing, statistical modelling, sensitivity analysis, etc.).
  • Computer vision, digital image treatment.


  • Lab scale studies of insect behavior.
  • Lab scale experimental evolution of insects.
  • Population dynamics of arthropods in microcosms, meso-cosms, and at the agroecosystem scale.


Plant pests and diseases: plant-pathogenic nematodes, fruit flies, corn borers, phytophagous mites, above- and below-ground plant diseases.

Natural enemies: trichogramma sp., predatory mites.