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mw. K.A. (Karen) Munoz Cardenas

  • Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica
  • Bezoekadres
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: C3.219
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  94240
    1090 GE  Amsterdam
    T: 0205257751

Plants may profit from the biodiversity of arthropods in the soil, not only by the protection they receive from soil-inhabiting predators against below-ground (root-attacking) herbivores. The soil may harbour alternative prey or foods for some of the plant-inhabiting predators and some of the soil-inhabiting predators may visit the above-ground parts of the plant to prey on herbivorous arthropods. I am interested in the use of this alternative prey/food to improve biological control in commercial crops. It is well known that the presence of alternative food/prey on plants can be beneficial for predators: it allows the predators to survive, develop and reproduce when the target pest is absent and if both the pest and the alternative prey/food are available, predators might also benefit from a mixed diet, boosting their populations and increasing biological control. However, in some cases, like ornamentals in greenhouses, there is not enough alternative prey/food on the plants and the damage thresholds of the pests are very low, so it becomes feasible to add food on the plant (like pollen) or to use the belowground decomposer community as a source of alternative prey. I am trying to elucidate if it is possible to promote aboveground pest control by supplying alternative prey belowground. My study system is rose crops, which are attacked by thrips and whiteflies. Plant and litter-dwelling predators are used for biocontrol of these pests in roses in the Netherlands but they do not establish in the crop due to lack of alternative food/prey. I am interested particularly in this system because although it is known that these predators can feed on both the pest and the alternative prey/food, the effect of adding alternative prey/food to the system on the predators population dynamics remains to be investigated.





Balaustium leanderi feeding on a whitefly adult. A predatory mite from the family Erythraeidae which benefits of a mixed diet.


  • Muñoz-Cárdenas, K., Fuentes, L. Z., Cantor, R. F., Rodríguez, C. D., Janssen, A., & Sabelis, M. W. (2014). Generalist red velvet mite predator (Balaustium sp.) performs better on a mixed diet. Experimental and Applied Acarology, 62, 19-32. DOI: 10.1007/s10493-013-9727-1 [details]
  • Fuentes Quintero, L. S., Muñoz-Cárdenas, K., Combita, O., Jimeno, E., Getiva de la Hoz, J. C., Cantor, F., ... Mąkol, J. (2014). A Re-Description of Balaustium leanderi Comb. Nov. (Actinotrichida, Erythraeidae) with First First Report on Characteristics of All Active Instars and Taxonomic Notes on the Genus. The Florida Entomologist, 97(3), 937-951. DOI: 10.1653/024.097.0352 [details]


  • Muñoz-Cárdenas, K., Fuentes-Quintero, L. S., Rueda-Ramirez, D., Rodríguez, C. D., & Cantor, R. F. (2015). The Erythraeoidea (Trombidiformes: Prostigmata) as Biological Control Agents, with Special Reference to the Genus Balaustium. In D. Carrillo, G. J. de Moraes, & J. E. Peña (Eds.), Prospects for Biological Control of Plant Feeding Mites and Other Harmful Organisms. (pp. 207-239). (Progress in Biological Control; No. 19). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-15042-0_8 [details]
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