Solène Blanchard

PhD student

Contact :

Unité d’Ecologie Sociale (USE)

ULB CP 231

Campus de la Plaine

bd du Triomphe, B-1050 Bruxelles


Tel: 02.650.55.30  (from abroad +32.2.650.55.30)
Fax: 02.650.59.87 (from abroad +32.2.650.59.87)



Climate change and multitrophic relationship – Changements climatiques et interactions multitrophiques

The aphid-ant mutualism – Mutualisme fourmi-puceron

Whereas climate change effects on crops and insect populations dynamics are mainly studied nowadays, the way that these effects might affect plant-insect interactions are less clear.

Every living being emit in its environment volatiles organic compounds. These molecules are often the center of complex communication systems between partners

belonging to different trophic levels. The role of semiochemicals in plant-insect interactions is no longer to prove. However, climatic modifcations forecasted for the end of the 21th century might have a major impact on multitrophic interactions, through disruption among the semiochemicals involved in these interactions.


The goal of this project is to study the impact of modifications in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and temperature on each partner of a multitrophic interaction involving a host plant (Vicia faba), its pest insect (the aphid Aphis fabae) and the mutualistic partner of this aphid (the ant Lasius niger).

We hypothesize that a raise of carbon dioxide and temperature might impact the biology and semiochemistry of the partners involved in this interaction. The project is divided in 4 sections. The first three sections will allow to investigate the impact of the two abiotic parameters on the partners independently of one another. The last section will investigate the multitrophic interactions under these climate changes.



Publications : 

Boullis A., Blanchard S., Francis F., Verheggen F. (2018) Elevated CO2 concentrations impact the semiochemistry of aphid honeydew without having a cascade effect on an aphid predator, Insects, 9(47)

Blanchard S., Detrain C., Lognay G., Verheggen F. (2017) Can climate change influence insect choices ? Impact of CO2 concentration on aphid preferences. Communications in Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences. (Accepted in July 2017)

  • Conferences

ECE Naples 2018 (European Congress of Entomology) – Oral Presentation – Elevated CO2 concentrations impact the semiochemistry of aphid honeydew without cascade effect on an aphid predator

ISCP Gand 2018 (International Symposium on Crop Protection) – Oral Presentation – Impact of carbon dioxide concentration on the plant-aphid-natural enemies relationship

ISCP Gand 2017 (International Symposium on Crop Protection) – Poster Presentation – Climate change: impact on plant-aphid-ant interactions 

  • Other

Exposition Jardin Massart ULB 2017 – Poster presentation – Climate change: impact on plant-aphid-ant interactions (august-november 2017)