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Emma Louise Rhule

Research Interests

The aim of Emma's PhD is to assess the potential of the sexually-transmitted mite, Coccipolipus hippodamiae, as a classical biological control agent of the invasive ladybird, Harmonia axyridis. Naturally occurring in continental European populations of some coccinellids, this ectoparasitic mite is known to induce sterility in infected females, notably the 2-spot ladybird, Adalia bipunctata. Emma is interested to see whether this same effect occurs in the H. axyridis, a novel host, and whether it could play a role in reducing population numbers. Before a programme of release could be considered, a number of factors must be considered including whether the desired reduction in population numbers would occur and the potential knock on effects on native coccinellids. She is also interested in studying this system at the genetic level to compare populations of C. hippodamiae on different host species and in different host ranges to elucidate any genetic differentiation and population structure that may have arisen as a result of host-parasite co-evolution.


2008 - present Ph.D. in Evolutionary Genetics, Peterhouse, Cambridge.

2005 - 2008 B.A. (Hons.) in Natural Sciences, Homerton College, Cambridge. Final year subject: Genetics


Rhule, EL, Majerus, MEN, Jiggins, FM, Ware, RL 2010 Potential role of the sexually transmitted mite Coccipolipus hippodamiae in controlling populations of the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis. Biological Control. 53: 243-247 [PDF]