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Department of Zoology



I have a BSc and MSc in Biology from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. I did my Masters in collaboration with the Insect Ecology Group, and have now returned as affiliated PhD student continuing the work from my Masters with Dr Ed Turner as my supervisor. I am based at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark with Prof. Carsten Rahbek as my main supervisor. My PhD is kindly funded by Hanne and Torkel Weis-Fogh Fund and University of Copenhagen.

My main focus for my Masters was Ecology and Conservation. I spend six months studding Tropical Biology at James Cook University, Cairns, Australia and did my thesis in collaboration with Dr William Foster and Dr Ed Turner with Prof. Neil Burgess as my main supervisor (University of Copenhagen) on investigating whether nectar-rich plants could positively affect the insect community in oil palm plantations, with special emphasis on parasitic wasps.

For my BSc thesis I did a theoretic evaluation on the potential for reintroducing the European Lynx (Lynx lynx) to the northern part of Zealand in Denmark, supervised by Prof. Torben Dabelsteen, University of Copenhagen.


My main research interests are sustainable development and ecosystem functions and services, with focus on insect communities. During my first trip to Borneo I asked myself “Can we make oil palm plantations more diverse and hospitable for native fauna without loosing yield?” Results from my Masters indicate that we can, and it is this question I examine further for my PhD. My fieldwork is carried out at the BEFTA site on Sumatra, Indonesia. The natural balance of the oil palm plantations have been highly disturbed for many years partly due to use of pesticides and herbicides. This use is now decreasing and more and more plantations are aware of the beneficial use of nectar-rich plants to provide nectar and shelter for natural enemies of herbivorous pests. Many plantations plant nectar-rich plants throughout their plantations, but how efficient are these plants and at what density should they be planted? These are some of the questions I address for my PhD. I am also assessing the general understory management in oil palm plantations and how this affects abundance and diversity among predatory insects such as dragonflies and assasin bugs.

The oil palm industry is rapidly expanding in SE Asia, and growing in other tropical regions. Oil palm is the most productive oil crop worldwide, meaning that higher yield can be achieved per hectare in this system, potentially reducing the pressure to deforest areas of remaining natural habitat. My research will aid information on more-sustainable oil palm management and yield insights into the functioning of a diverse tropical ecosystem.

For more information please follow me on twitter: @J_Hinsch


PhD Student


Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
Predatory Insects
Insect Ecology