Short CV of Helen Roy
Helen Roy is a senior scientist (ecologist) with the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Wallingford, UK). 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. 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 on the Risks and benefits of Exotic Biological Control Agents which uses the harlequin ladybird as a model species.
Helen has a particular interest in the ecology and dynamics of insect host-pathogen interactions particularly fungal species of pathogens and has recently led an editorial team to produce a journal special edition (Ecology of Fungal Entomopathogens - Springer) which reflects her work in this field. She is the chair of the membership committee for the Society of invertebrate Pathology. She is currently working on a project assessing the prevalence of insect pathogens in chalk grassland Lepidoptera.
The ecology of ladybirds is a subject that appeals to the public and throughout her career she 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 five years.