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Many organisms survive by consuming other organisms. Such interactions are intrinsically unstable because the persistence of the consumers depends on the persistence of their prey. Yet these interactions are common and often continue to exist over many generations and evolutionary time.


At Kantlab we are interested in the mechanisms that allow antagonistic interactions to persist, and we investigate these at different levels of biological organization i.e. from genes to ecological communities. We focus on plant-herbivore and predator-prey interactions to investigate: (1) manipulation of plants by herbivores and (2) improving biological control by changing plant physiology.


Our core model system is centered around tomato plants, herbivorous mites and predatory mites but our projects often include also other plant species (such as sweet pepper, beans, tobacco and arabidopsis), insect herbivores (such as thrips, whitefly and lepidopteran larvae) and insect predators such as mirids.

Kantlab is headed by Merijn Kant. The research group is part of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

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Our overarching question is why, despite their destructive nature, antagonistic interactions often persist


For our daily research we combine chemistry and molecular biology (e.g. genetic transformation, gene-expression analysis, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, gene-silencing and overexpression) with (behavioral) bioassays in the laboratory (e.g. insect/mite choice and performance assays); greenhouse (e.g. plant performance, insect/mite population growth, biological control) and in the field (natural variation).

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At Kantlab we are interested in traits indicative of plant-herbivore coevolution, and in the variation therein to predict adaptive responses

Lab members

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We combine molecular biology and ecology to tackle fundamental and applied research topics


Location: Science Park 904, room C3.215 (Merijn Kant)


Visitors information

Regular mail: Merijn Kant, P.O. Box 94240, 1090 GE Amsterdam, NL

Packages: FNWI Centraal Magazijn SP (Attn: Merijn Kant, IBED), Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, NL

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