Our research explores many aspects of the ecology and evolution of ‘enemy-victim’ interactions with the aim of better understanding the consequences of global change (climate change, invasive species, biodiversity loss) 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 questions include:
- How will climate change 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?
- Can we exploit pathogens, parasites or slower acting/less lethal chemical insecticides to alter the ability of vectors to transmit disease and to develop interventions that will not be undermined by evolution of resistance by the vector?
- Can we use knowledge of existing pest species distributions and associations to inform invasive species 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.