Partner 45 – Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

The Biological control and Spatial Ecology Lab. (abbreviated as LUBIES, Lutte BIologique et Ecologie Spatiale) is part of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Brussels, Belgium. It is a complete university with seven faculties (engineering, sciences, economics and politics, law, medicine, psychology, letters and philosophy) and about 20 000 students. ULB was ranked as the fifth best francophone university by the Times Higher Education University Ranking for 2008, and the 183th best worldwide. Within the university, the LUBIES is attached to the School of Bioengineers, which groups research units working in diverse fields of applied biological sciences (e.g., landscape ecology and urban planning, environmental sciences). The School of Bioengineers is staffed with faculty of sciences and engineering faculty. Both faculties offer the research environment and intellectual support necessary for successful research in both fundamental and applied sciences.

The researches of LUBIES deal with demographic and spatial changes in several harmful organisms such as forest, agricultural and urban insect pests and animal diseases. LUBIES focuses on the mechanisms which trigger outbreaks and epidemics, on the factors favoring their spread and persistence, and on the development of monitoring and control methods. A particular attention is given to invasive alien organisms: emerging diseases (bird flu, bovine tuberculosis, bluetongue) and exotic insects (forest and urban tree pests), and to the patterns and processes involved in their extension (global change, farming systems, trade). These processes include interactions between these organisms and their host or habitat, and with their biotic and physical environment. The methods used to approach these systems include uni-variate or multi-variate spatial statistics, spatially-explicit and spatially-realistic population models and simulations.

More specifically relevant to this proposal, LUBIES will be leading WP3.3 which aims to model the spread of vectors and VBD in a heterogeneous European Landscape. This task will be supported by LUBIES established previous experience in modeling the spread of invasive species (the horst chestnut leafminer Cameraria ohridella in Germany, France, and Great-Britain, and the bark-beetle Dendroctonus micans in Great-Britain) and of emerging pathogens (Bovine tuberculosis in Great- Britain) in heterogeneous landscapes. In complement, LUBIES will also benefit from its participation to the project EPISTIS (2006-2010) which aims to better understand the spatial ecology of Bluetongue in Belgium and Italy at different spatial scales.

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