The Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Harlequin ladybird elytra
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Richard Comont

Position

PhD Student

Organisation

Biological Records Centre, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Ladybird research keywords

Ecological modelling, ecology, behaviour, biological recording, intraguild interactions, Harmonia axyridis.

Description of work

The primary objective of my studentship is to quantify responses to H. axyridis invasion across native UK coccinellids with differing levels of habitat specialisation, climatic requirements and dietary preferences and to investigate consequences for regulation of aphid populations. Specifically:

  1. Are native coccinellids with a high degree of spatial and temporal overlap with H. axyridis more likely to decline in abundance in invaded areas than are coccinellids which do not overlap?
  2. What is the relative role of top-down, bottom-up and abiotic factors in driving the dynamics of native coccinellids? How does this vary temporally and spatially?
  3. How are the dynamics of native coccinellids and aphids altered by the presence of H. axyridis? What is the overall predictability of aphid and coccinellid dynamics under different climatic and invasion scenarios?
14-spot ladybird

Richards's favourite ladybird is the 14-spot ladybird
(photo: Bev Wigney)

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