Mosquitoes cause unparalleled mortality in human/animal populations through vectoring of pathogens/parasites. Biological control of mosquitoes has often failed due to use of exotic species as agents and lack of effective research on complex species interactions. Chemical/physical control has also failed due, for example, to residual toxicity, resistance and non-target effects. Here, we will utilize advances in species interaction research methods, such as assessing synergistic multiple predator effects, using experimental designs/analyses developed at QUB. For example, combinations of native notonectids, copepods and gammarids may provide effective larval mosquito control. In addition, this project will operationalise novel biosecurity tools, such as application of dry ice, steam and disinfectants (Virkon) in mosquito egg control. The student will utilize our purpose built mosquito breeding facility, wherein we can produce adults, larvae and eggs of multiple mosquito species for functional response (predator-prey) experiments, utilizing an array of local predators that have reprentatives around the globe. Biosecurity experiments, such as the use of steam to kill mosquito eggs, plus widely used and available disinfectants to kill mosquito larvae, will assess single and multiple synergistic biosecurity measures. The project will also benefit from our collaborations at University of Reading (Amanda Callaghan) and SAIAB South Africa (Olaf Weyl).
Specific skills/experience required by applicants:
Open to any good student in Biological Sciences or related field with generic skills in the scientific method.
Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Information on eligibility criteria is available from DfE: View Website