MPhil/PhD Scholarship: Development of Semiochemical-based Strategies for Enhanced Monitoring and Control of the Poultry Red Mite (Dermanyssus Gallinae)

University of Greenwich - Natural Resources Institute

Project Title: Development of semiochemical-based strategies for enhanced monitoring and control of the poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae)

Project Description:

Poultry red mite is the most important ectoparasite affecting laying hens, costing the EU poultry industry in excess of £150 million per annum. Current control methods which rely on use of acaricides are unsustainable, as mite populations are continuing to develop resistance to the chemical used.

The aim of this PhD is to develop a semiochemical-based strategy for red mite monitoring and control. This will exploit attraction of mites to chemicals produced by both mites and chicken nests. 

The work on this PhD will be carried out at NRI (supervisors: Daniel Bray and Richard Hopkins) in collaboration with Rothamsted Research (Mike Birkett). The research will build on pilot studies carried out at both intuitions in this area. The project is also supported by experts in poultry mite at The Moredun Research Institute (Alasdair Nisbet) and The Royal Veterinary College (Fiona Tomley & Damer Blake).

The envisaged work will include:

  • Identification and characterization of chemicals attractive to red mite through laboratory bioassays and chemical analysis
  • Formulation of chemical attractants and traps for field testing in commercial egg production farms
  • Gene and transcript level investigation of pheromone production and odour reception in red mites

This is a four year PhD, with a bursary provide by the British Egg Marketing Board Trust

For further information please contact the supervisor:

Daniel Bray, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. Email:, Tel: 01634 883729

Richard Hopkins, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. Email:, Tel: 01634 883304

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):

Year 1:  £14,553 Years 2-4: In line with RCUK rate

In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home rate, currently £4,195, for the duration of their scholarship. In line with the funder’s requirements, the successful candidate must be a British national and subject to British tax legislation.

For additional information about the scholarship and links to the application form please go to: 

Please read this information before making an application. Applications need to be made online via  No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.

  • Scholarship Reference Number (Ref) – included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying
  • a CV including 2 referees *
  • academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if English is not your first language

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments need to be in PDF format.

The closing date for applications is midnight (UTC) on 1 April 2018.

The scholarship must commence before 1 October 2018.

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