Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Bournemouth University Featured PhD Programmes

TEAGASC PHD WALSH SCHOLAR OPPORTUNITY"Catch me if you can" – improving monitoring and control of black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) in soft fruit and ornamental crops

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, April 10, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The black vine weevil remains an economically important insect pest in Britain and Ireland as well as throughout Europe and the Americas. Economic losses are largely the result of larval feeding on the roots, corms and rhizomes, which affects plant health. Most of the non-pesticide management strategies developed to date for vine weevil have focused on the application of biological control agents to control the larval form. However, these biological agents are subject to inconsistent efficacy at temperatures below 15°C. Compounding this, there are few current non-pesticide control options for the adult weevil. Each adult weevil is female, and can lay up to 1200 eggs in her life time. Therefore, in most production systems, there is a high level of consistent weevil egg laying pressure and even a single vine weevil adult can quickly give rise to economically damaging populations.

The aim of this project is to create systems that reduce adult egg laying, building on previous research conducted by project partners. The development of effective early detection systems on which decisions around the application of controls can be made is a vital step in developing a sustainable integrated approach to the management of vine weevil. This project seeks both to develop an improved monitoring tool for this pest as well as to develop biopesticide alternatives to the use of synthetic insecticides for the control of adult vine weevils. Results from this study may act as a guide for the development of novel control strategies against other key pests affecting horticultural crops.

This Teagasc funded Walsh Scholarship will investigate the sustainable management of vine weevil. To do this the project is divided into three objectives: 1) the project will improve the sensitivity and reliability of traps to detect the presence of adult vine weevils within crops; 2) the project will identify behaviourally active volatile compounds that may be used to manipulate vine weevil behaviour; 3) the project will test registered and near to market biopesticides for use as vine weevil controls. Through these three objectives the successful applicant will combine the most effective approaches into an IPM vine weevil management plan.

Funding Notes

The scholarship is fully funded and includes tuition and bench fees and a tax-free stipend at the RCUK 2020-2021 rate. (£15.245 per annum). However, the full cost of the fees for international students is not covered by this studentship and non UK/EU students would therefore be required to pay the difference.

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