Dr Iain Paterson

Senior Research Officer: Centre for Biological Control

Office: F18, First Floor, Life Science Building
Email:  i.paterson@ru.ac.za
Phone: +27 46 603 8098

PhD, Entomology, Rhodes University (2010)

Iain is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Zoology and Entomology who specialises in various aspects of biological control of weeds. He has worked as an exploratory entomologist surveying for new potential biological control agents on a number of invasive alien plant species, including cactus weeds and tropical trees that have invaded island ecosystems. Iain is also interested in the origin of invasive populations of plants and how this impacts the success of biological control and has been involved in a number of projects that have used genetics to determine where alien populations come from. Other aspects of Iain’s work include host specificity testing and improving how we test the safety of potential agents and assess the risks of releasing new agents.   

Research Interests

  • Biological control of weeds
  • Development of new biological control agents
  • Post release evaluations
  • Host specificity
  • Genetic determinations of weed origins
  • Pereskia aculeata


Canavan K, Paterson ID, Hill MP & Dudley TL (2018) Testing the enemy release hypothesis on tall-statured grasses in South Africa, using Arundo donaxPhragmites australis and Phragmites mauritianus as models. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007485318000627

Sutton GF, Klein H & Paterson ID (2018) Evaluating the efficacy of Hypogeococcus sp. as a biological control agent of the cactaceous weed Cereus jamacaru in South Africa.  BioControl (2018) 63: 493. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-018-9887-3

Canavan K, Paterson ID, Lambertini C & Hill MP (2018) Expansive reed populations—alien invasion or disturbed wetlands?, AoB PLANTS, Volume 10, Issue 2, 1 April 2018, ply014, https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/ply014

Sutton GF, Paterson ID & Paynter Q (2017) Genetic matching of invasive populations of the African tulip tree, Spathodea campanulata Beauv. (Bignoniaceae), to their native distribution: maximising the likelihood of selecting host-compatible biological control agents. Biological Control.114: 167-175.

Weaver KN, Hill MP, Hill JM, Coetzee JA, Martin GD, Paterson ID (2017) Community entomology: insects, science and society. Journal for New Generation Sciences. 15(1): 176-186.

Canavan K, Paterson ID, Hill MP (2017) Exploring the Origin and Genetic Diversity of the Giant Reed, Arundo donax in South Africa. Invasive Plant Science and Management. 10:53-60

Zachariades C, Paterson ID, Strathie LW, Hill MP, Van Wilgen BW (2017) Assessing the status of biological control as a management tool for the suppression of invasive alien plants in South Africa. Bothalia. 47(2): a2142.

Paterson ID, Paynter Q, Neser S, Akpabey FJ, Orapa W, Compton S (2017) West African arthropods hold promise as biological control agents for an invasive tree in the Pacific Islands. African Entomology. 25(1): 244-247.

Sutton GF, Paterson ID, Compton SG, Paynter Q (2017) Predicting the risk of non-target damage to a close relative of a target weed using sequential no-choice tests, paired-choice tests and olfactory discrimination experiments. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 27(3): 364-377.

Paterson ID, Managan R, Downie DA, Coetzee JA, Hill MP, Burke AM, Downey PO, Henry TJ, Compton S (2016) Two in one: cryptic species discovered in biological control agent populations using molecular data and interbreeding experiments. Ecology and Evolution. 6: 6139-6150.

Downey PO, Paterson ID (2016) Encopassing the relative non-target risks from agents and their alien plant targets in biological control assessments. BioControl. 61:615-630.

Madeira PT, Hill MP, Dray Jr. FA, Coetzee JA, Paterson ID, Tipping PW (2016) Molecular identification of Azolla invasions in Africa: the Azolla specialist, Stenopelmus rufinasus proves to be an excellent taxonomist. South African Journal of Botany 105: 299-305.

Barker NP, Paterson ID, Howis S (2015) "Barcoding" and ISSR data illuminate a problematic infraspecific taxonomy for Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Calenduleae; Asteraceae): lessons for biocontrol of a noxious weed. Biochemical systematics and ecology. 61:541-551.

Paterson ID, Mdodana LA, Mpekula O, Mabunda DBX, Hill MP (2014) A promising biological control agent for the control of the invasive alien plant, Pereskia aculeata Miller (Cactaceae), in South Africa. Biocontrol Sceince and Technology. 24(10):1083-1095

Canavan K, Paterson ID, Hill MP (2014) The herbivourous arthropods associated with the invasive alien plant, Arundo donax, and the native analogous plant Phragmites australis in the Free State Province, South Africa. African Entomology. 22(2): 454-459.

Canavan K, Coetzee JA, Hill MP, Paterson ID (2014) Effect of water trophic level on the impact of the water hyacinth moth Niphograpta albiguttalis on Eichhornia crassipes. African Journal of Aquatic Science. 39(2): 203-208.

Paterson ID, Vitorino MD, de Cristo SC, Martin G, Hill MP (2014) Prioritization of potential agents for the biological control of the invasive alien weed, Pereskia aculeata (Cactaceae), in South Africa. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 24:407-425.

Paterson ID, Zachariades C (2013) ISSRs indicate that Chromolaena odorata invading southern Africa originates in Jamaica or Cuba. Biological Control. 66: 132-139.

Paterson ID, Hill MP, Downie DA (2012) The effect of host plant intraspecific genetic variation on the fitness of a monophagous biological control agent. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 22(5):513-525.

Paterson ID, Hoffmann JH, Klein H, Mathenge CW, Neser S, Zimmermann HG (2011) Biological control of Cactaceae in South Africa. African Entomology. 19(2): 230-246.

Taylor SJ, Downie DA, Paterson ID (2011) Genetic diversity of introduced populations of the water hyacinth biological control agent Eccritotarsis catarinensis (Hemiptera: Miridae). Biological Control. 58: 330-336.

Paterson ID, Coetzee JA, Hill MP, Downie DA (2011) A pre-release assessment of the relationship between the invasive alien plant, Pereskia aculeata Miller (Cactaceae), and native plant biodiversity in South Africa. Biological Control. 57: 59-65.

Paterson ID, Downie, DA, Hill MP (2009) Using molecular methods to determine the origin of weed populations of Pereskia aculeata in South Africa and its relevance to biological control. Biological control. 48: 84-91.

Richards C, Paterson ID, Villet M (2008) Estimating the age of immature Chrysomya albiceps (Diptera: Calliphoridae), correcting for temperature and geographical latitude. International Journal of Legal Medicine. 122: 271-279.

Last Modified: Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:50:46 SAST