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Michael Kristensen

Associate Professor

Michael Kristensen
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Evolution-proof pest management

Agricultural pests (weeds, insect pests, diseases and viruses) evolve in response to crop cultivation. Future pest management can benefit from integration of ecological and evolutionary principles to predict long-term responses of pest populations to changing pest management, agricultural environment and climate. This project will provide the biological basis for more evolutionary-enlightened pest management in which management principles are supported by evolutionary biology. We will expand our basic knowledge of the genetic variation of pest organisms to assess the potential for adaptation. We will focus on the evolutionary dynamics of selection for resistance rather than describing the physiological and molecular basis of pesticide resistance. To shed light on the principles behind the adaption of pest organisms to different management systems, we will study the evolution of resistance (i) in beetles (Meligethes aenus,Ceutorhynchus pallidactylus, Ceutorhynchus obstrictus) on rapeseed treated with pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticides, (ii) in the weed silky bent grass (Apera spica-venti) treated with ALS-inhibiting herbicides, and (iii) in the plant pathogen septoria (Mycophaerella graminicola) treated with ergosterol inhibiting fungicides. We will use molecular tools, e.g. transcriptome analysis, to follow the microevolutionary process of resistance development in field, semi-field and laboratory experiments and identify the effect of major and minor resistance genes on the fitness of resistant and susceptible phenotypes. The ambition is to combine management,genetic variation and fitness data in models to predict and prevent resistance development.


Insecticide resistance and microevolution.

Resistance is a major global problem facing public health and agriculture and resistance has been found in hundreds of insect species. Resistance is microevolution or instant evolution, where the genetic composition of populations is change dramatically in just a few generations.

The aim of the research in insecticide resistance and toxicology is to develop and implement resistance management strategies, which ensure specific and limited use of insecticides by conserving insecticide susceptible genes in pest populations. Future directions of the research will primarily involve molecular biology methods looking at the origin, frequency and importance of resistance genes of veterinary and medically important insects including house flies (Musca domestica), German cockroaches (Blattella germanica), head lice (Pediculus capitis) and bed bugs (Cimex lectularius).


Mycoinsecticides: plant, pest, pathogen interactions

The aim of the study is to exploit plant-endophyte interaction to control insect. This will be achieved through understanding genetic and metabolomic mechanisms of association among entomopathogenic fungus endophytes, plants and insect pests at tri-trophic level.




1989: MSc biology, Aarhus University, Dept. of Molecular Biology and Plant Physiology.

1991: PhD, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Dept. of Ecology and Molecular Biology



1992-95: Post Doc at Carlsberg Laboratory, Copenhagen.

1995-98: Scientist, Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory.

1998-2001: Senior scientist, Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory, Dept. of Integrated Pest Management, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University.

2001-02. Lecturer at ATI (Fishing Industry School) Maniitsoq, Greenland

2001-2010: Senior scientist, Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory, Dept. of Integrated Pest Management, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University.

2011-present: Associate professor Dept. of Agroecology.



Molecular and biochemical entomology.

Insecticide, herbicide, fungicide and rodenticide resistance.

Bioassay, target-site SNP, DNA barcoding, Musca, Culicoides

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