Amy Collop

Background

Current research

Harmonia axyridis is an invasive ladybird native to eastern Asia. After being introduced outside of its native range as a biological control agent, H. axyridis spread to and established on four continents outside of its native range within the last 30 years. They are known as agricultural pests and their presence in invaded communities has been recorded to negatively influence native ladybird communities specifically through intraguild predation and interspecific competition. My study will investigate the global population genetic structure of H. axyridis beetles — with a strong focus on South Africa and how the country fits into the global invasion network — using microsatellite data. To achieve this, comprehensive geographic coverage of international beetle samples will be included to provide information that is currently lacking for populations globally and to make informed decisions for management and prevention strategies of invasive species in South Africa. I will also investigate chromosomal inversion patterns within populations of H. axyridis to both complement the microsatellite analyses and to explore characteristics that may have promoted the invasiveness of H. axyridis.