Christian Nansen



Nansen, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, specializes in applied insect ecology and integrated pest management. Nansen completed his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2014. He has also held faculty positions at Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and most recently at the University of Western Australia.

Research interests:

Integrated pest management, insect ecology, host plant stress detection, host selection by arthropods, pesticide performance, and use of reflectance-based imaging in a wide range of research applications.

Brief overview:

We are seeking to develop food production practices that reduce reliance on pesticides in ways that are both environmentally sound and economically feasible. Often, insect pest outbreaks occur in crops that have already been weakened by environmental stressors such as insufficient water or fertilizer. This suggests that optimal management of crop inputs can be used to minimize the risk of pest outbreaks. We are investigating innovative crop management as a form of “preventive medicine” that reduces current reliance on pesticide applications.

This type of research requires in-depth understanding of how insect pests select host plants and how crops can be grown to reduce their susceptibility to these pests. It also requires in-depth understanding of how crop stress can be detected at an early stage — for instance, based on remote sensing technologies — so that management decisions can be implemented before major crop losses are incurred.

Current projects:

  • Quantification of behavioral resistance to insecticides in key pest populations
  • Developing an evolutionary based model of pesticide resistance development as a function of genetic and management variables
  • Image-based classification of insects and other objects


Updated January 2015

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