Our research explores many aspects of the ecology and evolution of insect pests and diseases with the aim of better understanding the consequences of global change and improving the effectiveness and sustainability of pest and disease management. We combine empirical and theoretical approaches to address issues of fundamental and applied significance.
Over the years we have worked in many systems with research on diverse topics including the ecology and evolution of host-pathogen interactions, predicting and understanding the impact of invasive species, biodiversity and ecosystem health, and many aspects of biological control.
In recent years we’ve tended to focus on transferring knowledge and insights from ecology and agriculture into the public health arena. Current projects include research on the effects of environmental temperature on transmission of vector-borne diseases, understanding the consequences of insecticide resistance for malaria control, and developing and evaluating novel control tools for the development of improved integrated vector management strategies.
20 Key papers:
- Thomas, M.B., Wratten, S.D. & Sotherton, N.W. (1991). Creation of island habitats in farmland to manipulate populations of beneficial arthropods: predator densities and emigration. Journal of Applied Ecology 28, 906-917.
- Kooyman, C., Bateman, R.P., Langewald, J., Lomer, C.J., Ouambama, Z, & Thomas, M.B. (1997). Operational-scale application of entomopathogenic fungi for control of Sahelian grasshoppers. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 264, 541-546.
- Wilby A. & Thomas, M.B. (2002). Natural enemy diversity and pest control: patterns of pest emergence with agricultural intensification. Ecology Letters 5, 353-360.
- Elliot, S.L., Blanford, S. & Thomas, M.B. (2002). Host-pathogen interactions in a varying environment: temperature, behavioural fever and fitness. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 269, 1599-1607.
- Lynch, L.D., Ives, A.R., Waage, J.K., Hochberg, M.E. & Thomas, M.B. (2002). The risks of biocontrol: transient impacts and minimum nontarget densities. Ecological Applications 12, 1872-1882.
- Elliot, S.L., Blanford, S., Horton, C. & Thomas, M.B. (2003). Fever and phenotype: Transgenerational effect of disease on desert locust phase state. Ecology Letters 6, 830-836.
- Blanford, S., Thomas, M.B., Pugh, C. & Pell, J.K. (2003). Temperature checks the Red Queen? Resistance and virulence in a fluctuating environment. Ecology Letters 6, 2-5.
- van Lenteren, J.C., Babendreier, D., Bigler, F., Burgio, G., Hokkanen, H.M.T., Loomans, A., Menzler-Hokkanen, I., van Rijn, P.C.J., Thomas, M.B. & Tommasini, G. (2003). Environmental risk assessment of exotic natural enemies used in inundative biological control. BioControl 48, 3-38.
- Blanford, S., Chan, B.H.K., Jenkins, N.E., Sim, D., Turner, R.J., Read, A.F. & Thomas, M.B. (2005). Fungal pathogen reduces potential for malaria transmission. Science 308, 1638-1641.
- Casula, P., Wilby, A. & Thomas, M.B. (2006). Understanding biodiversity effects on prey in multi-enemy systems. Ecology Letters 9, 995-1004.
- Griffiths, G.J.K., Wilby, A., Crawley, M.J. & Thomas, M.B. (2008). Density-dependent effects of predator species-richness in diversity-function studies. Ecology 89, 2986–2993.
- Paaijmans, K.P., Read, A.F. & Thomas, M.B. (2009). Understanding the link between malaria risk and climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106, 13844–13849.
- Read, A.F., Lynch, P.A. & Thomas, M.B. (2009). How to make evolution-proof insecticides for malaria control. PLoS Biology7(4).
- Paaijmans, K.P., Blanford, S., Bell, A.S., Blanford, J.I., Read, A.F. & Thomas, M.B. (2010). Influence of climate on malaria transmission depends on daily temperature variation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, 15135–15139.
- Paini, R., Worner, S.P., Cook, D.C., De Barro, P.J. & Thomas, M.B. (2010). Threat of invasive pests from within national borders. Nature Communications 1,115.
- Lambrechts, L., Paaijmans, K.P., Fansiri, T., Carrington, L.B., Kramer, L.D., Thomas, M.B. & Scott, T.W. (2011). Impact of daily temperature fluctuations on dengue virus transmission by Aedes aegypti. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, 7460-7465.
- Paini, D.R., Sheppard, A.W., Cook, D.C., De Barro, P.J., Worner, S.P. & Thomas, M.B. (2016). The global threat to agriculture from invasive species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113, 7575-7579.
- Shapiro, L.M., Whitehead, S.A., Thomas, M.B. (2017). Quantifying the effects of temperature on mosquito and parasite traits that determine the transmission potential of human malaria. PLoS Biology 15 (10), e2003489.
- Sternberg, E.D., Cook, J., Alou, L.P.A., Aoura, C.J., Assi, S.B., Doudou, D.T., Koffi, A.A., N’Guessan, R., Oumbouke, W.A., Smith, R.A., Worrall, E., Kleinschmidt, I., Thomas, M.B. (2018). Evaluating the impact of screening plus eave tubes on malaria transmission compared to current best practice in central Côte d’Ivoire: a two armed cluster randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health18(1), 894.
- Suh, E., Grossman, M.K., Waite, J.L., Dennington, N.L., Sherrard-Smith, E., Churcher, T.S., Thomas, M.B. (2020). The influence of feeding behaviour and temperature on the capacity of mosquitoes to transmit malaria. Nature Ecology and Evolution.