Alitha Edison

PhD Student

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Plant Adaptation-in-action Group
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity
Hüfferstr. 1
D-48149 Münster, Germany

Tel.: +49 251/83-

Nationality: Indian In


  • Since 2019:
    PhD student in the Plant Adaptation-in-action group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2013 - 2018:
    BS-MS dual degree in biological sciences, Indian Institute of Science and Education Research, Thiruvananthapuram, India


  • Prof. Dr. Shuqing Xu, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Caroline Müller, Department of Chemical Ecology, Bielefeld University

Research interests

  • Evolution of animal behaviour
  • Insecticide resistance
  • Entomolog
  • Behavioural ecology

PhD project description

Behavioural mechanism of insecticide resistance in the Colorado potato beetle

I am broadly interested in studying the evolution of behaviour. For my PhD project, I have chosen to look at the behavioural mechanisms behind the evolution of insecticide resistance. Insecticide resistance has been extensively studied before, because of its practical applications in crop cultivation and maintenance. A vast amount of information is available about the physiological and biochemical mechanisms of resistance in several insect species. A question relatively untouched is how behavioural avoidance and tolerance make a pest resistant to a pesticide. A perfect study system to
explore this topic is the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), owing to its diverse life cycle and rapid adaptation abilities.
Previous attempts to answer these questions have failed to successfully show the evolution of behavioural resistance because of lack of data prior to insecticide exposure. Therefore, I will be using the emerging and highly useful experimental evolution technique to observe and assess the particular behavioural traits that evolve as a response to the selection pressure exerted by insecticide application.


Balamurali GS, Edison A, Somanathan H & Kodandaramaiah U (2019) Spontaneous colour preferences and colour learning in the fruit-feeding butterfly, Mycalesis mineus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 73:39 10.1007/s00265-019-2648-1 [doi]