As a research scientist at the Lethbridge Research Centre, I study a range of topics that center on the theme of
insect community ecology with application for pest control. Early in my career, I began studies on the
biology and ecology of parasitic wasps (Pteromalidae) for use as biocontrol
agents for flies affecting livestock.
This led to an interest in Wolbachia
bacteria, which infect an estimated 20-80 percent of all insect species and
which can have profound effects on the reproduction of their insect hosts.
We also study insects that
co-occur with pest flies in cattle dung.
Results from some of these studies document the non-target effects of
faecal residues, on insects breeding in the dung of cattle treated with
veterinary pharmaceuticals. This
information is being used to develop international guidelines for the
registration of new veterinary products.
Other studies examine the role of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae) in
degrading cattle dung to maintain the ‘health’ of pasture ecosystems.
More recent studies involve cutworms
(Noctuidae), their host plants and their parasitoids. Cutworms are complex of pest species that
affect several crops and have been of particular concern in recent years. We also have a number of collaborations for
which our lab does DNA barcoding, primarily for insects being studied as biocontrol agents of weeds. From my Ph.D. research, I retain an interest on insect communities in natural zones of overlap and
hybridization between species of cottonwoods (Populus spp.) in southern Alberta.
Studies identify these zones as ‘hotspots’ of biodiversity and evolutionary
A visual summary of my research topics is illustrated with use of this word cloud. It was generated using titles from my scientific papers and book chapters published up to December 2012 (see publications). The more often a word is repeated in these titles, the larger it appears in the word cloud. Many words appear once or twice and are too small to be easily read. Click here to view a larger version of the word cloud.
Lethbridge Research Centre
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
5403 - 1st Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1
Tel: (403) 317-2242