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PhD Students

Jessa Thurman

PhD Student

For my PhD, I'm interested in assessing the potential benefits of non-crop habitat for suppressing pests in Australian and Samoan Brassica crops.


This involves determining what type of non-crop habitats can increase natural enemy abundance, diversity, richness, and evenness and then determining if those increases can lead to pest suppression for populations of Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and the Cluster moth (Crocidolomia pavonana), two key pests for Brassica farmers globally.


This project is a form of conservative biological control which can potentially provide farmers with an alternative to using chemical pesticides and a more sustainable pest management program. 


Past research projects have included research on Australian native biological control agents including weaver ants (Oecophylla sp.) and the Anastatus wasp (family Eupelmidae) and the ecosystem services they provide in tropical tree crops, the ecology of a large coprophagous dung beetle (Coprophanaeus Lancifer) in the Peruvian Amazon, impacts of Palm Oil farming on surrounding aquatic invertebrates in Borneo, and seed dispersal of an anachronistic fruit, Osage orange (Maclura pomifera).

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