PhD Scholarship ~

19 de mayo de 2004

PhD Scholarship

Seed predators and biological control of weeds

. Available from July 2004 (negotiable)
. Three year duration
. $20,000 annual tax-free stipend
. Full tuition fees paid (domestic or international rate)
. Funded by Landcare Research
. Closing date for applications: 8 June 2004

"Multi-targeting" of weed complexes: can more generalist biocontrol agents provide safe, efficient biological control of weeds?

Ecological theory states that herbivores such as seed predators may limit the densities of plant species. Good evidence for this comes from work on biological control of weeds, where a biocontrol agent leads to a measurable decline in the density of the weed.

For most of the 20th Century, the emphasis in biological control was on releasing only very host-specific biocontrol agents. The perceived ideal was an insect (or other natural enemy) which preys upon only a single host species, the target weed. However, in many cases a number of closely related plant species are all weeds, such as the thistles (in genera like Carduus and Cirsium in the family Asteraceae). A "multi-species capable" biocontrol agent, which attacks a number of members of the same weed group, might in theory be more desirable than the perceived "ideal" one-weed one-agent scenario, for several
. better prospects for effective biocontrol of already-present members of the weed group; . establishment of the multi-targeting biocontrol agent may act to prevent future invaders from ever becoming weeds. These questions are of practical and theoretical interest, and are the core of this PhD programme.

The project will combine experimental work (field and lab based), and computer simulations and modelling, to examine various aspects of this question as a component of a government and pastoral industry- funded research programme lead by AgResearch to development sustainable weed management systems for pastures. Experience with plant/herbivore interactions and with simulation modelling would be an advantage. We have funds to cover a tax-free living allowance (stipend), full fees (at domestic or full international rate), field travel and expenses, and also some training to develop modelling skills.

Further details from:
Assoc. Prof. Dave Kelly
Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Email:, Phone: (+64 3) 3642 500, Web:
Assoc. Prof. Dave Kelly FRSNZ
Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury/Te Whare Wananga O Waitaha Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand Ph +64 3 3642782 (direct), Fax 3642590 Email Web

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