Our research explores many aspects of the ecology and evolution of insect pests and diseases with the aim of better understanding the consequences of global change and improving the effectiveness and sustainability of pest and disease management. We combine empirical and theoretical approaches to address issues of fundamental and applied significance.
Historically the research has centered around three main themes:
- Ecology and evolution of host-pathogen interactions
- Predicting and understanding the impact of invasive species (including non-target effects of biocontrol agents)
- Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; especially the role of natural enemy diversity in provision of pest control services.
Since moving to Penn State in January 2008, most of our research has focused on the first theme with a particular emphasis on mosquito-pathogen and mosquito-parasite interactions (although this doesn’t mean I’m no longer interested in the other themes).
Current research areas include:
- How do elements of global change (climate warming, changes in water resources, changes in local ecological features) affect the ability of insect vectors to transmit diseases such as malaria and dengue?
- How does environmental temperature affect host resistance and parasite/pathogen virulence?
- What factors determine the epidemiological significance of insecticide resistance and can we develop novel actives and novel delivery strategies to combat resistance evolution?
- Can we use knowledge of existing pest and disease distributions and associations to inform risk assessment?
- What factors determine the adoption (or often non-adoption) of novel pest/vector control strategies?
If you are interested in possible collaboration on any of these topics (or more generally the main research themes), or in joining us as a postdoc or grad student then do get in touch.