I am doing a joint PhD in collaboration with the Rhodes University of Grahamstown (South Africa), investigating the potential of weed biological control in the fight against IAAPs. The main focus of the project is to study the mechanisms promoting the invasion of these species and using this knowledge to devise a strategy for their biological control. To do so, we must compare the ecology of the target species in the native and in the invaded range, examine its bioclimatic preferences through species distribution modelling (SDM), organize field surveys to identify potential biocontrol agents, and assess their host-specificity through rigorous testing procedures. An additional part of the research is to test the effectiveness of biological control not only in controlling the weed but in the long-term restoration of natural ecosystems.
I have a strategic-basic FWO fellowship from the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) and I am a member of the Centre for Biological Control (CBC).