Lauréline Humair

PhD student

Research interests

My reserach at CABI focuses on the management of invasive pest and weed using their natural enemies.  The aim is to find alternative solution to conventional methods such as mechanical and chemical which are often expensive, not safe for the environment and/or not sustainable. My studies are then oriented towards biological control options. Classical biological control consists of using natural enemies to control pests or weeds, but requires long studies in order to release only highly specific agents. The aim is to establish self-sustaining populations of the natural enemies. 

Biological control of parrot’s feather, Myriophyllum aquaticum, in temperate biomes

My PhD thesis will focus on the management of Myriophyllum aquaticum in Canada, using classical biological control methods. Parrot’s feather, Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc. (Haloragaceae), is a popular ornamental plant that has become problematic worldwide, due to its ability to spread easily and turn into an invasive species. Originally from the Amazon basin, parrot’s feather has now spread worldwide and is considered invasive in several temperate regions. Due to sensitive habitats chemicals cannot be used and mechanical methods require huge investments of as just a small fragment of the plant left behind can restart a new population. 

This research aims to develop biological control programmes targeting parrot’s feather in western North America. So far, three potential biological control agents are under investigation: Lysathia sp. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Listronotus marginicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) both native to South America and Phytobius vestitus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) native to North America. Yet, to be able to use these insects as biological control agents against parrot’s feather, several requirements should be met, such as their ability to perform and survive in a different climate from their original one, as well as to establish any potential to spread onto native non-target plant species. With this research I will try to answer the question: what should be prioritized for testing, safety or efficiency?  

If you want to learn more about the project, I invite you to visit CABI website for more details: https://www.cabi.org/projects/biological-control-of-parrot-feather-in-north-america/

Lauréline Humair

CABI, Rue des Grillons 1

CH-2800 Delémont, Switzerland

T : +41 (0) 32 421 48 70