Dr Helen Roy
Ecological Entomologist, Biological Records Centre
In 1997 Helen completed her PhD (on the ecology of ladybirds, Pandora neoaphidis (fungal insect pathogen) and other aphid natural enemies) at Rothamsted Research (linked with Nottingham University) and took up a position as lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University.
Helen combined research with teaching for 10 years before taking up a position (research scientist) with the Biological Records Centre (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) where she is responsible for zoological data and research and works extensively with national zoological schemes and societies. Her research focuses on the effects of environmental change on insect populations and communities. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of invasive species and their effects on native biodiversity.
She coordinates the UK Ladybird Survey and is 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 (Harmonia axyridis) on native species. This work was selected for the 2009 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and the Moscow Science Festival in 2010. Helen has been invited to exhibit her research on ladybirds at the BBC Gardener's World Exhibition in June 2011.
Helen is working on a project to produce a comprehensive information portal on non-native species in Great Britain. She also leads a European study group within the International Organisation for Biological Control (IOBC) on the Risks and benefits of Exotic Biological Control Agents which uses the harlequin ladybird as a model species.
Helen continues with her research interests first initiated in her PhD on the ecology and dynamics of insect host-parasite interactions and has recently led an editorial team to produce a journal special edition (Ecology of Fungal Entomopathgens – Springer) which reflects her work in this field. She is currently working on another journal special issue (Invasive alien arthropod predators and parasitoids: an ecological approach), an activity through the IOBC WG that she leads.
The ecology of ladybirds is a subject that appeals to the public and throughout her career Helen has taken every opportunity to communicate her research to a wider audience. This has included natural history talks, school visits, bioblitz, popular science articles, podcasts and a significant number of interviews with the media. The arrival of the non-native harlequin ladybird in 2004 captured the imagination of the media and there has been sustained media interest in research on this species over the last six years.
Current research interests
See also the NERC Open Research Archive.
Lawson-Handley, L.J., Estoup, A., Thomas, C., Lombaert, E., Facon, B., Aebi, A., Evans, D. and Roy, H.E. (in press). Ecological genetics of invasive alien species. BioControl
Roy, H.E., Roy, D.B. and Roques, A. (in press). Inventory of terrestrial alien arthropod predators and parasites established in Europe. BioControl
Roy, H.E., Lawson-Handley L.J., Schönrogge, K., Poland, R.L. and Purse, B.V. (in press). Can the enemy release hypothesis explain the success of invasive alien predators and parasitoids? BioControl
Ormond, E.L., Thomas, A.P.M., Pell, J.K., Freeman, S.N. and Roy, H.E. (in press). Avoidance of a generalist entomopathogenic fungus by the ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata. FEMS Microbiology Ecology
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.
Wells, P.M., Baverstock, J., Majerus, M.E.N., Jiggins, F.M., Roy, H.E. and Pell, J.K. (2011). The effect of the coccinellid Harmonia axyridis on transmission and dispersal of the fungal pathogen Pandora neoaphidis. European Journal of Entomology, 108, 87-90.
Ormond, E.L., Thomas, A.P.M., Pugh, P.J.A., Pell, J.K. and Roy, H.E. (2010). A fungal pathogen in time and space: population dynamics of Beauveria bassiana in a conifer forest. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 74, 146-154
Baverstock, J., Roy, H.E. and Pell, J.K. (2010). Entomopathogenic fungi and insect behaviour: from unsuspecting hosts to targeted vectors. BioControl, 55, 89-102
Hesketh, H., Roy, H.E., Eilenberg, J., Pell, J.K. and Hails, R.S. (2010). Challenges in modelling complexity of fungal entomopathogens in semi-natural populations of insects. BioControl, 55, 55-74.
Roy, H.E., Brodie, E.L., Chandler, D., Goettel, M.S., Pell, J.K., Wajnberg, E. and Vega, F. (2010). Deep space and hidden depths: understanding the evolution and ecology of fungal entomopathogens. BioControl, 55, 1-6.
Roy, H.E., Hails, R.S., Hesketh, H., Roy, D.B. and Pell, J.K. (2009). Beyond biological control: non-pest insects and their pathogens in a changing world. Insect Conservation and Biodiversity, 2, 65-72.
Roy, H.E., Brown, P.M.J., Rothery, P., Ware, R.L. and Majerus, M.E.N. (2008). Interactions between the fungal pathogen Beauveria bassiana and three species of ladybird: Harmonia axyridis, Coccinella septempunctata and Adalia bipunctata. BioControl, 53, 265-276.
Brown, P.M.J., Roy, H.E., Rothery, P., Roy, D.B., Ware, R.L. and Majerus, M.E.N. (2008). Harmonia axyridis in Great Britain: analysis of the spread and distribution of a non-native coccinellid. BioControl, 53, 55-68.
Brown, P.M.J., Adriaens, T., Bathon, H., Cuppen, J., Goldarazena, A., Hagg, T., Kenis, M., Klausnitzer, B.E.M., Kovar, I., Loomans, A.J., Majerus, M.E.N., Nedved, O., Pedersen, J. Rabitsch, W., Roy, H.E., Ternois, V., Zakharov, I. and Roy, D.B. (2008). Harmonia axyridis in Europe: spread and distribution of a non-native coccinellid. BioControl, 53, 5-22.
Roy, H.E. and Wagnberg, E. (2008). From biological control to invasion: the ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, as a model species. BioControl, 53, 1-4.
Roy, H.E., Baverstock, J., Ware, R.L., Clark, S.J., Majerus, M.E.N., Baverstock, K.E. and Pell, J.K. (2008). Intraguild predation of the aphid pathogenic fungus Pandora neoaphidis by the invasive coccinellid Harmonia axyridis. Ecological Entomology, 33, 1-8.
Roy, H.E., Brown, P.M.J., Ware, R.L., Michie, L-J., Beckmann, B. and Majerus, M.E.N. (2008). The harlequin ladybird marches on. British Wildlife, 19, 182-186.
Majerus, M.E.N., Strawson, V. and Roy, H.E. (2006). The potential impacts of the arrival of the Harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), in Britain. Ecological Entomology, 31, 207-215.
Roy, H.E., Steinkraus, D., Eilenberg, E., Pell, J.K. and Hajek, A. (2006). Bizarre Interactions and Endgames: Entomopathogenic Fungi and their Arthropod Hosts. Annual Review of Entomology. 51, 331-357
Majerus, M.E.N., Roy, H.E., Brown, P.M., Ware, R.L. and Shields, C. (2006). Guide to Ladybirds of the British Isles. Field Studies Council Publications: Shrewsbury.