Blair Cowie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Blair Cowie profile

Email: blair.cowie.bc@gmail.com
Office: B37 Biology Building, Wits University

MSc, Entomology, Wits University (2016)
PhD, Ecology, Wits University (2020)

Postdoc supervisor: Prof. Iain Paterson

Blair completed his PhD at the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand in 2020. His research focused on understanding the invasion dynamics of Parthenium hysterophorus as well as assessing and enhancing the efficacy of control strategies utilised against the weed in South Africa. Since joining the Centre for Biological Control in July 2020, Blair has switched his research focus towards the biological control of invasive Prosopis species (Mesquite) in South Africa.

 Research interests

  • Invasion Ecology
  • Applied Entomology
  • Plant Ecophysiology
  • Insect-Plant Interactions

Recent Publications

Tocco, C., Foster, J., Venter, N., Cowie, B., Marlin, D. & Byrne, M., 2021. Elevated atmospheric CO2 adversely affects a dung beetle’s development: another potential driver of decline in insect numbers? Global Change Biology 00: 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15804

Cowie, B.W., Byrne, M.J. and Witkowski, E.T.F. 2021. Feasible or foolish: attempting restoration of a Parthenium hysterophorus invaded savanna using perennial grass seed. Journal of Environmental Management 280: 111686. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111686

Reynolds, C., Venter, N., Cowie, B.W., Marlin, D., Mayonde, S., Tocco, C & Byrne, M.J. 2020. Mapping the socio-ecological impacts of invasive plant species across South Africa shows that poorer households with high ecosystem service use are most at risk. Ecosystem Services 42: p.101075. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2020.101075

Cowie, B.W., Byrne, M.J., Witkowski, E.T.F., Strathie, L.W., Goodall, J.M. & Venter, N. 2020. Understanding the morphological and physiological responses of the invasive shrub Parthenium hysterophorus to progressive water stress. Environmental & Experimental Botany 171: p.103945. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envexpbot.2019.103945

Cowie, B.W., Venter, N., Witkowski, E.T. and Byrne, M.J. 2020. Implications of elevated carbon dioxide on the susceptibility of the globally invasive weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, to glyphosate herbicide. Pest Management Science ps.5767. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.5767

Cowie, B.W., Strathie, L.W., Goodall, J.M., Venter, N., Witkowski, E.T.F., Byrne, M.J. 2019. Does host plant quality constrain the performance of the Parthenium beetle Zygogramma bicolorata? Biological Control 139: p.104078. . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2019.104078

Venter, N., Mkasi, M., Mudau, P., Newete, S., Cowie, B.W., et al. 2019. Differences between sun and shade habitats on the invasive shrub Lantana camara and its biocontrol agent Teleonemia scrupulosa. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 13(6): 885-893. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11829-019-09713-z

Cowie, B.W., Witkowski, E.T.F., Byrne, M.J., Strathie, L.W., Goodall, J.M. & Venter, N., 2018.  Physiological response of Parthenium hysterophorus to defoliation by the leaf-feeding beetle Zygogramma bicolorata. Biological Control 117: 35-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2017.08.022

Cowie, B.W., Venter, N., Witkowski, E.T.F., Byrne, M.J. & Olckers, T. 2018. A review of Solanum mauritianum biocontrol: prospects, promise and problems: a way forward for South Africa and globally. BioControl 63: 475-491. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-017-9858-0

Venter, N., Cowie, B.W., Witkowski, E.T.F., Snow, G.C. & Byrne, M.J. 2017. The amphibious invader: rooted water hyacinth’s morphological and physiological strategy to survive stranding and drought events. Aquatic Botany 143: 41-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2017.09.004

Cowie, B.W., Witkowski, E.T.F., Byrne, M.J. & Venter, N., 2017. A villainous hero: Does the biological control agent, Anthonomus santacruzi, pollinate its target weed, Solanum mauritianumBiological Control 105: 79-85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2016.11.012

Cowie, B.W., Byrne, M.J., Witkowski, E.T.F. & Venter, N. 2016. Exacerbation of photosynthetic damage through increased heat–light stress resulting from Gargaphia decoris sap-feeding. Biological Control 94: 82-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2015.12.008

Cowie, B.W., Venturi, G., Witkowski, E.T.F. & Byrne, M.J. 2016. Does climate constrain the spread of Anthonomus santacruzi, a biological control agent of Solanum mauritianum, in South Africa? Biological Control 101: 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2016.06.005

Last Modified: Fri, 13 Aug 2021 14:38:52 SAST