Ingrid A. Minnaar
Cheilomenes lunata (native)

Cheilomenes lunata (native)

Chilocorus stigma (introduced)

Chilocorus stigma (introduced)

Adalia flavomaculata (native)

Adalia flavomaculata (native)

Background

I completed my BSc, BSc Honours (2010) and MSc (2013) degrees at the University of Pretoria. My MSc focussed on the thermal physiology of a fruit bat. In 2013, I started my PhD with the C·I·B at Stellenbosch University.

Current research

Even though insects represent some of the worst invaders globally, most invasion studies have been conducted on plants. For my PhD, I intend to explore several facets of insect invasiveness. I will use a statistical and experimental approach to determine traits that enhance the successful invasion of insects using ladybirds as model organisms. Ladybirds represent an excellent model system to use in South Africa as invasive alien, introduced alien and many native ladybirds co-occur throughout the landscape. I will compare the thermal tolerance limits and life-history characteristics of native and non-native alien ladybirds along an environmental gradient as these traits are predicted to enhance the performance of exotic insects in their novel environment. This research will improve the understanding of how and why certain insects invade and, in so doing, aid in the prediction of which insects may become invasive in the future.

Publications