Dr Helen Roy

Biological Records Centre logo

UK Ladybird Survey logo and link

Dr Helen Roy

Ecological Entomologist, Biological Records Centre

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building
Benson Lane
Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB
Tel: +44 (0)1491 838800
E-mail: Dr Helen Roy

Brief CV

  • 2007: Ecological Entomologist, BRC, NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • 2007-2008: Reader in Ecology, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 2006-2007: Director of Research Students, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 2005-2006: Senior Lecturer, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 2002-2005: Senior Lecturer, Anglia Polytechnic University
  • 1997-2002: Lecturer, Anglia Polytechnic University
  • 1994-1997: PhD Student, Institute of Arable Crop Research – Rothamsted and University of Nottingham

I joined the Biological Records Centre within CEH in April 2007 after ten enjoyable years of lecturing in ecology and entomology. My role in BRC is to lead zoological research and data collation.

My research focuses on the effects of environmental change on insect populations and communities.

I am particularly interested in the dynamics of invasive non-native species and their effects on native biodiversity. I am the chair of a COST Action ALIEN Challenge which involves 31 countries in ensuring a fair exchange of high quality and reliable data and information on invasive non-native species. I lead a project to produce a comprehensive information portal on non-native species in Great Britain. Additionally I have the role of managing updates to the DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe) database.

I also lead a European study group within the International Organisation for Biological Control on the Risks and Benefits of Exotic Biological Control Agents which uses the harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) as a model species.

I coordinate the UK Ladybird Survey and am using the large-scale and long-term coccinellidae datasets (distribution and abundance) to understand and predict the effects of the arrival of the non-native harlequin ladybird on native species.

My research has been selected for the 2009 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, Moscow Science Festival in 2010 and BBC Gardeners' World Live in 2011, 2012 and 2013. I have a passion for science communication and citizen science. I wasawarded the ZSL Silver Medal forcontributions to the understanding and appreciation of zoology.


Current research interests

  • Ecology of non-native species
  • Effects of environmental change on insect populations
  • Community interactions, particularly ladybirds and their natural enemies
  • Role of species' attributes in determining distribution patterns
  • Science communication and public participation


Selected recent publications

See also the NERC Open Research Archive.

Roy, H.E., Peyton, J. et al. Horizon scanning for invasive non-native species in Britain. Global Change Biology (in press)

Roy, H.E., Preston, C.D. et al. GB Non-native Species Information Portal: documenting the arrival of non-native species in Britain.  Biological Invasions (in press)

Jeffries, D.L., Chapman, J., Roy, H.E., Humphries, S. Harrington, R., Brown, P.M.J., Lawson Handley, L-J. 2013. Characteristics and drivers of high-altitude ladybird flight: insights from vertical-looking entomological radar. PlosOne 8(12): e82278. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082278

Comont, R. F., Purse, B., Phillips, W., Kunin, W.E., Hanson, M., Lewis, O.T., Harrington, R., Shortall, C., Roy, H.E. 2013. Escape from parasitism by the invasive alien ladybird, Harmonia axyridis. Insect Conservation and Diversity

Comont, R.F., Roy, H.E., Lewis, O.T., Harrington, R., Shortall, C. and Purse, B.V. 2013. Ecological correlates of local extinction and colonisation in British ladybird beetles. Biological Invasions

Sandvik, H., Sæther, B-E., Holmern, T., Tufto, J., Engen, S. and Roy, H.E. 2013. Generic ecological impact assessments of alien species in Norway: a semi-quantitative set of criteria. Biodiversity and Conservation 22, 37-62

Comont, R.F., Roy, H.E., Lewis, O.T., Harrington, R., Shortall, C. and Purse, B.V. 2012. Using biological traits to explain ladybird distribution patterns. Journal of Biogeography, 39, 1772-1781

Gardiner, M., Losey, J., Smyth, R., Allee, L., Roy, H.E. and Brown, P.M.J. 2012. Data Accuracy and Citizen Science: Lessons Learned from Studying Lady Beetles in the US and UK. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10, 471-476

Roy, H.E., Adriaens, T., Isaac, N.J.B. et al. 2012. Invasive alien predator causes rapid declines of native European ladybirds. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2012.00883.x

Roy, H.E. and Lawson-Handley, L.J. 2012. Networking: a community approach to invaders and their parasites. Functional Ecology, 26, 1238-1248 

Roy, H.E., Rhule, E., Harding, S., Lawson-Handley, L., Poland, R., Riddick, E.W. and Steenberg, T. 2011. Living with the enemy: parasites and pathogens of the invasive alien ladybird Harmonia axyridis. BioControl, 56, 663-680.   

Roy, H.E., De Clercq, P., Handley, L., Poland, R., Sloggett, J. and Wajnberg, E. 2011. Alien arthropod predators and parasitoids: an ecological approach. BioControl, 56, 375-382

Lawson-Handley, L.J., Estoup, A., Thomas, C., Lombaert, E., Facon, B., Aebi, A., Evans, D. and Roy, H.E. 2011. Ecological genetics of invasive alien species. BioControl, 56, 409-428 

Roy, H.E., Roy, D.B. and Roques, A. 2011. Inventory of terrestrial alien arthropod predators and parasites established in Europe.  BioControl, 56, 477-504

Roy, H.E., Lawson-Handley L.J., Schönrogge, K., Poland, R.L. and Purse, B.V. 2011. Can the enemy release hypothesis explain the success of invasive alien predators and parasitoids? BioControl, 56, 451-468

Brown, P.M.J., Frost, R., Doberski, J., Sparks, T., Harrington, R. and Roy, H.E. 2011. Decline in native ladybirds in response to the arrival of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): early evidence from England. Ecological Entomology, 36, 231-240.