William’s PhD project focuses on studying the biology and ecology of the Barberry Carpet moth, with the goal of improving the conservation action for this priority species.
The Barberry Carpet (Pareulype berberata) is a species of conservation concern in England. Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is the larval hostplant, but Barberry also serves as the alternative host for Puccinia graminis, a fungal pathogen which causes stem rust in cereal crops. Factors such as the removal of Barberry and the significant loss of hedgerows may have contributed to the Barberry Carpet’s decline.
Although Puccinia graminis is not currently posing a significant issue to agriculture in the UK, stem rust has recently been recorded in England. Therefore, future conservation action needs to be considerate of any risks associated with Barberry and its relationship with stem rust.
William is working on identifying the key ecological and environmental resources utilised by the Barberry Carpet in their current refugia, and working to identify any alternative host plants the Barberry Carpet may be able to use. The findings of the project will inform a habitat management plan to aid current management and any future reintroductions.