PhD Opportunities

Fully Funded PhD opportunity (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)

DISPEST: Redefining DISpersal potential for adequate fruit fly PEST management

Ceratitis rosa and C. quilicii (Diptera, Tephritidae) are two important and closely related agricultural pests occurring throughout South and East Africa. This project aims at providing relevant information for the development of specific control strategies for these two species. We aim at collecting novel distribution, host preference and population genomic data and, using an innovative approach, at modelling their intraspecific patterns of connectivity and invasion routes.

Read more here and download the pdf with more info.

Fully Funded PhD opportunity (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)

Dispersal Ecology/Physiological Ecology of the invasive Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer in South Africa

The invasive Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle is a devastating insect pest that, together with its symbiotic fungus, can kill a wide range of native and exotic tree hosts and cause significant economic damage. It poses a noteworthy threat to agriculture, urban and native trees in South Africa and in other parts of the world. This study will focus on the physiological attributes that allow this beetle to be such a successful invader using a combination of laboratory and fieldwork.

Read more here and download the pdf with more info.

Postgraduate Opportunities

We do interdisciplinary research including global climate change, physiological responses to environmental conditions, mechanisms underlying environmental tolerance, and principles and applications of insect physiology to broader issues (e.g. conservation, pest management).

Highly motivated students interested in undertaking postgraduate research degrees should email me to discuss available projects and funding opportunities. A few projects are available which span a range of disciplines and involve varying levels of field and lab-work.

There are also opportunities for undergraduates to gain working research experience and interested students should contact me directly.

Intellect, an interest in acquiring new skills, independence and creativity are key characteristics I seek in potential students. Broad interests, someone who likes a challenge, an open mind, and the ability or willingness to synthesize different research areas are all useful for a post-graduate degree in my lab.

Key research areas:

  • Cellular physiology and stress responses
  • Physiological plasticity in insects
  • Thermal tolerance of insects
  • Water balance of insects
  • Energy metabolism and gas exchange patterns of insects and modelling
  • Biophysical modelling of population dynamics
  • Invasion biology
  • Evolutionary and ecological physiology of insects
  • Integrated and area-wide pest management