M.Res. in Entomology (Imperial College, London 2010-11)
BSc (Hons) in Zoology (University of Glasgow 2006-2010)
Start Date: 1st October 2013
3A135 Cottrell Building
Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Stirling
The role of parasites in biological invasions.
Biological invasions can have huge impacts on biological diversity in an invaded range. The enemy release hypothesis suggests that invasive species spread so rapidly because of the lack of parasites, predators, pathogens and disease in their invaded range. However, over time parasites of native species in the invaded range may adapt to utilise a novel host and influence the overall strength of the invasion. Invasive species also have the potential to bring with them biological weapons, in the form of pathogens and disease, which can contribute to the decline of native species. The harlequin ladybird has been described the most invasive ladybird on earth. Arriving in the UK in 2004, it has since become the most common ladybird in areas of South East England. This invader has caused worrying declines in native ladybird species in the UK and Europe. My PhD will investigate further the role of parasites in biological invasions, focusing on the Harlequin ladybird and its invasion in the UK. I aim to answer questions relating to parasite host switches, parasite adaptation to novel host species and biological weapons. Funded by NERC.