Helen Roy

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 non-native 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. Recently she was excited to hear that a proposal she has led for a COST Action on IAS has been approved and will commence in 2013.

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 has also recently published 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. Helen has a passion for communicating science to a wide audience and engaging people through citizen science.  She has just published a review “Understanding Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring” on behalf of the UK Environmental Observation Framework.

Recent relevant publications:

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

Purse, B., Gregory, S., Harding, P. and Roy, H.E. (2012) Habitat use governs range size and fill of saprophagous macroarthropods –a case study of British woodlice (Isopoda: Oniscidea).  European Journal of Entomology, 109, 543–552

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

Comont, R.F., Roy, H.E., Lewis, O.T., Harrington, R., Shortall, C., 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.,Kenis, M.,Onkelinx, T., San Martin, G., Brown, P.M.J., Hautier, L.,Poland, R.L., Roy, D.B., Comont, R.,Eschen, R., Frost, R., Zindel, R., Van Vlaenderen, J., Nedvěd, O., Ravn, H.P., Grégoire, J-C., de Biseau, J-C. and Maes, D. (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., 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

Ormond, E.L., Thomas, A.P.M., Pell, J.K., Freeman, S.N. and Roy, H.E. (2011) Avoidance of a generalist entomopathogenic fungus by the ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 77, 229-237.

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

Roy, H.E. and Roy, D.B. (2010) Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) – Harlequin ladybird (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae). BioRisk, 4, 882-883

Roy, H.E. and Migneon, A. (2010) Ladybeetles (Coccinellidae). BioRisk, 4, 293-314

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.