This project will focus on building an understanding of the behavioural and physiological interactions of insect pests and their natural enemies (predators and parasitoids), and using this to develop better approaches to insect pest management in the field. In particular, we will develop an understanding of how host choice behaviour and learning interact with environmental variables to affect the outcome of successful biological control. There is no fixed model system for this project; the successful student will develop and choose a pest species to work on which is of interest and relevance to them. The project will utilise a mix of laboratory and field studies and can be carried out in Reading or abroad, again depending on the student’s interests.
Relevant recent publications:
Campbell, H., Fellowes, M.D.E. & Cook, J.M. 2015 The curious case of the camelthorn: ant species coexistence and nest-site limitation on an African myrmecophyte. American Naturalist 186, 172-181.