Ms Elisa Pal

PhD student


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Research Profiles

Primary Supervisor
Gerda Fourie

Co Supervisor
Jeremy Allison
Brett Hurley
Bernard Slippers

My PhD project

I joined FABI in October 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Gerda Fourie, Prof. Jeremy Allison, Prof. Brett Hurley and Prof. Bernard Slippers. My research is focused on the biology, ecology and management of relatively unknown Bathycoelia distincta (two-spotted stink bug; Pentatomidae) associated with macadamia orchards in South Africa. My project is part of the macadamia protection research program in collaboration with the Southern African Macadamia Grower's Association (SAMAC) (link).

The first objective of my research is to gain information regarding the genetic population of B. distincta in South Africa and to better understand its diversity. In terms of pest management, my research also focuses on studying the insecticide toxicity, and the chemical ecology of this species. This research is crucial for understanding this species, and for future pest management strategies for the Macadamia industry.


My Background


Master in Environmental toxicology at the University of Angers (France)

My master was focused on the toxicological impact of xenoboitics.

During my first year, I did an internship at LPG-BIAF institute (link) (Angers, France) under the supervision of Prof. Geslin Emmanuelle. I studied the ecotoxicological quality of marine waters, and I presented my results with a poster in an international congress in Nantes (France).

I realised my second internship at the INRA of Avignon, in the Bees & Environment unit (link), under the supervision of Dr. Belzunces Luc. My study was focused on the physiological alterations by a mixture of pesticides on the honey bees. I conducted a chronic toxicity tests, a different analyses on the detoxification system coupled to histological observations.

University Research Diploma at the National Polytechnique Institute of Toulouse (France)

I realised a University Research Diploma after my master at the National Polytechnique Institute of Toulouse, in EcoLab (link). For 6 months, I studied the ecotoxicity impact of micropollutants present in wastewaters. I conducted this study using an ecotoxicological approach (toxicology and genotoxicology assay) in two aquatic organisms: Chironomus riparius and Xenopus laevis.

Technical University Diploma of Environmental Biology at the University of Caen (France)

It’s with this diploma that I discovered the entomology world in integrate the Entomology and Mediterranean forests Unit in Avignon (link) (INRA, France) for my first internship with the Dr. Lavoir Anne-Violette and the Dr. Martin J.C. I tested the naturally repulsive plant against the Gypsy moth. My results that permit to publish my first research article and to present in an international congress with an oral communication.


Professional experience

After my master’s degree, I worked in the Entomology and Mediterranean forests Unit (link) like engineer. My mission consisted in the development of control methods against lepidopteran forest pests in the south of France. For that, I managed and monitored the different experiments in forests in the objective to propose different sustainable solutions for the environment.


Scientific congress


  • E. Pal et al. (2019). How do you preserve the macadamia nuts in South Africa from stink bugs? French-South African Science and Innovation Days, Pretoria, December 2019.
  • E. Pal et al. (2016). Benthic foraminifera: A tool for assess ecological quality of marine waters. Meeting OCEANEXT, Nantes, France, June 2016.

Oral communication

Pal E, Allison J, Hurley B, Slippers B, Fourie G (2022). Understanding Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae) traits for developping efficient management tools. SAMAC industry day, White river, South Africa, 11th October.

Pal E, Allison J, Hurley B, Slippers B, Fourie G (2022). Biology and management of Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae) associated with macadamia orchards in South Africa. SAMAC research networking day, Johannesbourg, South Africa, 29th June.

Pal E, Allison J, Hurley B, Slippers B, Fourie G (2021). Characterization of the alarm pheromone of Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae), a major pest of macadamia.36th Annual meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE), Stellenbosh, South Africa, 5 - 10 September.

Pal E, Allison J, Hurley B, Slippers B, Fourie G (2021). Genetic diversity of the two-spotted stink bug Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae) associated to macadamia orchards in South Africa. 22nd Biennial Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA), Limpopo, South Africa, 28 June – 1 July.

Pal E et al., Testing the anti-feedant or repulsive potential of some hardwood trees against Gypsy moth attacks. 7th meeting of OIBC-WPRS on the integrated protection of oak trees, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France, October 2013.



  • Co-Supervisor - honors project "Screening for entomopathogenic fungi against Bathycoelia distincta" 2021
  • Demonstrator - module "Applied entomology" (module ZEN 365 - Department of Zoology and Entomology - University of Pretoria)



  • ESSA (Entomological Society of Southern Africa) click here
  • ESA (Entomological Society of America) click here
  • ISCE (International Society of Chemical Ecology) click here


  • FABI award for the FABIan/student of the year (2022)
  • Best oral presentation - International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE) conference (2021)
  • FABI student award for Mentorship (2021)
  • Runner-up of "The Conversation Africa student essay competition" (2020)
  • FABI student award for the Best website (2019)

My Galeries


FABI ends the year in style

FABIans took a break from their research activities and dressed up to attend the annual Year End Function hosted at the Future Africa Campus on 18 November.

MaPP attends the Macadamia Industry day

The Macadamia Protection Programme attended the annual grower symposium organised by SAMAC.

Mad Mac Flower blight fieldtrip

During the week of 5 October, the Macadamia Protection Programme was in Mpumalanga for an on-going flower blight survey.

FABI well represented at the ISCE conference 2021

From 5-10 September, academic staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students from FABI attended the 36th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE).

FABI well represented at ESSA

From 28 June until 1 July, academic staff, postdoctoral Fellows and students from FABI attended the 22nd Biennial Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) Congress.

Three Mad-Macs in KZN

The Macadamia Protection Programme’s (MPP) ‘Mad-Macs’ team went on another field trip, this time to the KwaZulu-Natal south coast!

Tree planting day for the Mad Macs team

On Tuesday 20 April, members of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) in FABI planted approximatively 300 macadamia trees from various different cultivars that are grown commercially by the industry.

Macadamia research program’s field visit to Mpumalanga

The Macadamia Protection Program (MPP) is back in the field! MPP research group leader Dr Gerda Fourie, joined by MSc candidate Dee Twiddy and PhD candidate Elisa Pal travelled to the Mpumalanga area during the week of 9 February.

FABI presents at the SAMAC Webinar

On 3 September, Dr Gerda Fourie, research leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) and Prof. Zander Myburg, research leader of the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme participated in a live webinar.

No break for insects!

Elisa Pal, a PhD candidate in FABI’s Macadamia Protection Programme explains how she cares for her colony of stink bugs during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Moth pheromone trial in Underberg, KZN

Professor Jeremy Allison (Extraordinary Professor in FABI at UP) joined Luki-Marie Scheepers, Josephine Queffelec, Elisa Pal and Quentin Guignard on a field trip to Underberg, near the Drakensberg from 2-4 March.

FABI launches Applied Chemical Ecology satellite laboratory

FABI has officially launched an Applied Chemical Ecology satellite laboratory and research programme in co-operation with Natural Resources Canada. The group’s research interests lie at the interface of behavioral chemical ecology and pest management.

Macadamia Protection Program research visit to Australia

Macadamia Protection Programme research group leader, Dr Gerda Fourie, PhD candidate Angel Maduke and MSc student Ashleigh Smith visited research collaborators Prof. Andre Drenth and Prof. Femi Akinsanmi from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia, from 15-29 February.

Quentin Guignard wins CTHB-The Conversation writing competition

FABI PhD candidate Quentin Guignard bagged a R30,000 cash prize paid towards attending an international conference of his choice after winning a writing competition held in conjunction with the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) and The Conversation Africa.

FABIans feature at the French-SA Science and Innovation days

The French-South African Science and Innovation Days was held in the CSIR from 2-3 December.

FABI PhD candidate presents a special seminar on how Sirex noctilio sees colour

PhD candidate Quentin Guignard presented a special seminar on the visual system of the European woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, at FABI on 29 July.

FABIans enter the Magic Kingdom at SPOOF 2019

Disney’s Magic Kingdom welcomed FABIans for this year’s annual meeting of the Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF). The FABI Social Club worked tirelessly to transform Tuks Monate into a magical wonderland filled with fantastically dressed inhabitants.

French Researchers in South Africa meet in FABI

FABI recently hosted a meeting for French researchers in South Africa.

FABIans strengthening collaboration between France and South Africa

The French Embassy organised a meeting of French academics working in South Africa on 8 February. This meeting aimed to connect French researchers from various fields and promote the expertise and innovation between the two countries.

Export to RIS
Pal E, Allison JD, Guignard Q, Hurley BP, Slippers B, Fourie G. (2022) Characterisation of the Alarm Pheromone of Bathycoelia Distincta (Pentatomidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 10.1007/s10886-022-01388-w
Pal E, Allison JD, Hurley BP, Slippers B, Fourie G. (2022) Genetic diversity of the two-spotted stink bug Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae) associated with macadamia orchards in South Africa. PLoS ONE 17(6) 10.1371/journal.pone.0269373
Pal E, Almasri H, Paris L, Diogon M, Pioz M, Cousin M, Sene D, Tchamitchian S, Tavares DA, Delbac F, Blot N, Brunet JL, Belzunces L. (2022) Toxicity of the pesticides Imidacloprid, Difenoconazole and Glyphosate alone and in binary and ternary mixtures to winter honey bees: Effects on survival and antioxidative defenses. Toxics 10(3):104. 10.3390/toxics10030104 PDF
Pal E, Lavoir AV, Morel E, Brinquin AS, Mazet R, Thevenet J, Martin JC. (2014) Testing naturally repulsive plant species against gypsy moth attacks . IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 101:213-220. PDF
Export to RIS
Pal E, Hurley B, Allison J, Slippers B, Fourie G. (2022) Potential management tactics hidden in the life cycle of stink bugs. SAMAC Journal :53-55.
Pal E, Hurley BP, Slippers B, Fourie G. (2020) Progress towards characterisation of pheromones of Bathycoelia distincta. SAMAC Journal PDF
Pal E, Correard M, Rei F, Thevenet J, Lantus S, Pezzini E, Buradino M, Brinquin AS, Martin JC. (2018) Processionnaire du pin: un traitement bille en tête. Phytoma 715:28-32. PDF
Pal E, Correard M, Buradino M, Morel E, Touzeau S, Thevenet J, Vauthier D, Gilg O, Martin JC. (2017) Processionnaire du pin: le le piégeage se perfectionne. Phytoma 709:26-29. PDF