Lucy Crowther

Novel approaches for the application and formulation of biological pesticides for crop protection

Growing up in rural South Shropshire, I have been surrounded by farms my entire life, little did I know it would become such an integral part of my education and career. During my undergraduate degree, I was lucky enough to be based out of Reaseheath University Centre, where I was able to study bees and agricultural margins for my dissertation, opening up my research interests to ecosystem services and agroecology. I continued this interest with my Research Masters, investigating the beneficial components of agri-environment schemes for bee populations and bumblebee colony growth, within the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Between my degrees, I have been able to volunteer with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the National Trust and worked a season as an Environmental Consultant. During these times, I was able to nurse my interest in entomology, learning to identify Hymenopterans and Oligochaetes, both hugely beneficial to agricultural ecosystems.

My PhD project will be focused on biological control of crop pests; specifically control of the pest midge species known as the swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii), sporadic pest of brassicas. We hope to learn about natural enemies, including parasitoid wasps that have potential to be used as biological control agents. Additionally, we will look into landscape management technique, such as floral margins to benefit natural enemies and intercropping in a “push-pull” strategy toward pest management.