William D.J. Kirk, Professor of Applied Entomology, has been running world-leading research projects on the ecology and control of thrips (Thysanoptera) in CAEP since the late nineties. He has recently taken up a prestigious guest professorship at the Universität für Bodenkultur (BOKU) (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences) in Vienna.
Universität für Bodenkultur (BOKU), Vienna, is a world-renowned education and research centre for renewable resources and the only Austrian university to focus specifically on Natural Resources and Life Sciences.
Professor Kirk’s laboratory focuses mainly on thrips chemical ecology, such as the role of aggregation pheromone in the biology of the bean flower thrips on cowpea in Kenya, and the ways in which thrips use cuticular hydrocarbons to recognise the species and sex of other thrips. Another project investigates the use of novel technologies such as nanoformulations of essential oils to control thrips.
Professor Kirk returned from Austria after delivering a postgraduate course in "Insect Chemical Ecology and Applications in Pest Management". This prestigious course combined lectures and seminars on some of his most interesting areas of specialism, such as insects’ use of semiochemicals for communication and reproduction as well as novel pest management approaches that take best advantage of such signals.