Lecture review: ENT-30304 - Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions
Teacher: Dr Aska Goverse
Date: 10 January 2003
For the course Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions teachers from several
groups give lectures on their own special field. Goverse is from the
Laboratory of Nematology. Her lecture forms an introduction to some of the
experiments the students will be conducting in the afternoon. She only has
a short time to cover the most important features of the topic. She comes
across as though she is not used to lecturing, but she talks in a calm and
structured way, so it’s not hard to understand the subject matter and it’s
easy to become interested in nematodes and their life-cycles. Nevertheless
it’s a pity we don’t get to hear more details and see more pictures.
The examples of the different kinds of nematodes and their interaction with
insects, plants and parasites are intriguing. Goverse explains how these
wormlike creatures can be used in the biological control of insects. The
introduction of nematodes into a natural environment is a tricky business.
You never know whether a harmless species might be affected by the
nematode. Furthermore, attempts to control pests are not always successful.
The use of the nematode Romanomermis culcivorax to control Anopheles
mosquitoes, the vector for the malaria parasite, was not a success. The
life cycles of the mosquito and the nematode are so different that the
attempt was not effective.
Despite the fact that this is not an introductory course, the contents of
the lecture are old news for some students. With all the newly developed
courses around at the moment they feel like guinea pigs. Departments are
forced to work together on the development of new courses, often with
interesting results, but it is the students who are confronted with the
growing pains. “We’ll have to wait and see how this course turns out,