Anthony Pignal

Research interest

I am working on the belowground insect-plant interactions in the traditional Milpa intercropping system. The Milpa results in an association of plants (e.g. Maize Zea mays, Squash Cucurbita argyrosperma and Bean Phaseolus vulgaris). The synergy of the three plants is beneficial to their development and resistance against herbivores and pathogens.

In the evolutionary arms race, some organisms that have co-evolved with the Milpa have also evolved adaptations to take advantage of the assets of this culture system. The generalist beetle Diabrotica balteata (Chrysomelidae family) is a pest that feeds on roots in the larval stage and on leaves as an adult. This insect has the capacity to sequester the cucurbitacin from the squash plants and might use it to defend himself against natural enemies (e.g. entomopathogenic nematodes EPN).

The objective of my project is to understand how this insect interacts with these three plant species and to compare its performance and its survival in monoculture and on the Milpa.

Teaching activities

  • TP Ecologie des populations (BSc 2)

Anthony Pignal

Etudiant en Master



+41 32 718 30 46

Bureau A113