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Daniel Wilson - PhD student at the University of Warwick

The Colonisation of Outdoor Crops by Aphids

My PhD project examines the colonisation of field vegetable and salad crops by aphids. I am funded by the Waitrose Agronomy Group and the University of Warwick.


There is increasing pressure to reduce reliance on synthetic chemical pesticides. This is for a range of reasons; including consumer concerns, environmental impact, decreasing availability of chemical pesticides and increasing cases of pesticide resistance. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is often promoted as a way forward.

This project focuses on aphids, which are important pests of a wide range of crops. It will consider generalist and specialist species and explore the effects of the injudicious use of insecticides on aphid behaviour and the transmission of plant viruses.

The PhD project is part-funded by the Waitrose Agronomy Group. In 2016/ 2017 members of the group had serious problems with virus in carrot and lettuce.

This project has focused on:

  1. Developing forecasting models to predict aphid phenology and periods of high abundance.
  2. Aphid colonisation behaviour in response to different host plants, the presence and persistence of insecticides and other substances (e.g. biopesticides based on plant extracts).
  3. The effects of insecticides on the transmission of non-persistent plant viruses.

Dan Wilson