Dr Peter Brown

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Animal and environmental biology

Research Supervision:Yes

Courses taught: Applied Wildlife Conservation

Peter’s key area of research is ladybird ecology. He's joint scheme organiser of the UK Ladybird Survey and co-author of three recent books on ladybirds.

[email protected]

For further information about ladybird ecology research, please visit the Ladybird Survey website


Peter has worked at Anglia Ruskin University since 2010, initially as a Research Fellow. He became a Lecturer in Zoology in 2011 and a Senior Lecturer in 2013. Prior to joining our University, from 2005 to 2008 Peter worked as an ecologist at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH). He completed his PhD studying the harlequin ladybird in 2010. Peter works collaboratively with researchers at various institutions in Britain (especially CEH and the University of Hull), Europe (e.g. Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) and Chile. He works closely with Prof Helen Roy from CEH.

Research interests

  • Ladybird ecology
  • The effects of non-native species on native biodiversity
  • Utilising citizen science in ecology, e.g. UK Ladybird Survey and COST Action CA17122 (Increasing understanding of alien species through citizen science)
  • Global spread and effects of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis
  • Intraguild predation among arthropods: detection using molecular tools
  • Benefits and risks of exotic biological control agents

Peter is a member of our Applied Ecology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

  • Ladybird ecology
  • Insect ecology
  • Citizen science

Peter would be pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD researchers.

Find out more about our Biology PhD including our exciting PhD project opportunities.


Peter is course leader for MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation. He leads the postgraduate module ‘Distributions, Landscapes & Conservation’ and the undergraduate module ‘Introduction to Ecology & Conservation’. He teaches on other modules including ‘Invertebrate Biology’ and ‘Field Skills in Biology’.


  • PhD: The spread of the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Europe and its effects on native ladybirds - Anglia Ruskin University (2010)
  • BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation - Anglia Ruskin University (2004)

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Co-leader, UK Ladybird Survey
  • UK representative and working group co-leader, COST Action CA17122 (Increasing understanding of alien species through citizen science)
  • Fellow, Royal Entomological Society
  • Honorary Fellow, British Naturalists' Association
  • Member, British Ecological Society
  • Guest editor, BioControl (lead editor for 2017 special issue)

Selected recent publications

Honek, A., Brown, P. M. J., Martinkova, Z., Skuhrovec, J., Brabec, M., Burgio, G., Evans, E. W., Fournier, M., Grez, A. A., Kulfan, J. and Lami, F., 2020. Factors determining variation in colour morph frequencies in invasive Harmonia axyridis populations. Biological Invasions, 22, pp. 2049–2062.

Kulfan, J., Zach, P., Holec, J., Brown, P. M. J., Sarvašová, L., Skuhrovec, J., Martinková, Z., Honěk, A., Váľka, J., Holecová, M. and Saniga, M., 2020. The Invasive Box Tree Moth Five Years after Introduction in Slovakia: Damage Risk to Box Trees in Urban Habitats. Forests, 11(9), p. 999.

Brown, P.M.J., Roy, H.E. & Lewington, R., 2019. Hidden treasures: recording Britain’s lesser-known ladybirds. British Wildlife 30(4), pp. 167-174.

Brown, P. M. J., Harrower, C., Dean, H. J ., Rorke, S. L., Roy, H. E., 2018. Spread of a model invasive alien species - the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis in Britain and Ireland. Scientific Data, 5, 180239.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., 2018. Decline in native ladybird species caused by the invasive harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis: evidence from a long-term field study. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 11(3), pp. 230-239.

Soares, A. O., Honek, A., Martinkova, Z., Brown, P. M. J., Borges, I., 2018. Can native geographical range, dispersal ability and development rates predict the successful establishment of alien ladybird (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) species in Europe? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00057

Grez, A. A., Zaviezo, T., Roy, H. E., Brown, P. M. J., Segura, B., 2017. In the shadow of the condor: Invasive Harmonia axyridis found at very high altitude in the Chilean Andes. Insect Conservation & Diversity 10, pp. 483-487.

Kenis, M., Adriaens, T., Brown, P. M. J., Katsanis, A., San Martin, G., Branquart, E., Maes, D., Eschen, R., Zindel, R., Van Vlaenderen, J., Babendreier, D., Roy, H. E., Hautier, L., Poland, R. L., 2017. Assessing the ecological risk posed by a recently established invasive alien predator: Harmonia axyridis as a case study. BioControl 62, pp. 341-354.

Burns, F., Eaton, M. A., Barlow, K. E., Beckmann, B. C., Brereton, T., Brooks, D. R., Brown, P. M. J., Al Fulaij, N., Gent, T., Henderson, I., Noble, D. G., Parsons, M., Powney, G. D., Roy, H. E., Stroh, P., Walker, K., Wilkinson, J. W., Wotton, S. R. and Gregory, R. D., 2016. Agricultural management and climatic change are the major drivers of biodiversity change in the UK. PLoS One ,11(3), e0151595.

Grez, A. A., Zaviezo, T., Roy, H. E., Brown, P. M. J., Bizama, G., 2016. Rapid spread of Harmonia axyridis in Chile and its effects on local coccinellid biodiversity. Diversity & Distributions, 22, pp. 982-994.

Roy, H. E., Brown, P. M. J., Adriaens, T., Berkvens, N., Borges, I., Clusella-Trullas, S., Comont, R.F., De Clercq, P., Eschen, R., Estoup, A., Evans, E.W., et al., 2016. The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis: global perspectives on invasion history and ecology. Biological Invasions, 18, pp. 997-1044.

Roy, H. E., Brown, P. M. J., 2015. Ten years of invasion: Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Britain. Ecological Entomology, 40, pp. 336-348.

Roy, H. E., Rorke, S. L., Beckmann, B., Booy, O., Botham, M. S., Brown, P. M. J., Harrower, C., Noble, D., Sewell, J. and Walker, K., 2015. The contribution of volunteer recorders to our understanding of biological invasions. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115(3), pp.678-689.

Orlova-Bienkowskaja, M. J., Ukrainsky, A. S., Brown, P. M. J., 2015. Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Asia: a re-examination of the native range and invasion to southeastern Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Biological Invasions, 17, pp. 1941-1948.

Purse, B. V., Comont, R., Butler, A., Brown, P. M. J., Kessell, C., Roy, H. E., 2014. Landscape and climate determine patterns of spread for all colour morphs of the alien ladybird Harmonia axyridis. Journal of Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12423

Brown, P. M. J., Ingels, B., Wheatley, A., Rhule, E., De Clercq, P., Van Leeuwen, T., Thomas, A., 2014. Intraguild predation by Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on native insects in Europe: molecular detection from field samples. Entomological Science. doi: 10.1111/ens.12092

Jeffries, D. L., Chapman, J., Roy, H. E., Humphries, S., Harrington, R., Brown, P. M. J., Lawson Handley, L-J., 2013. Characteristics and drivers of high-altitude ladybird flight: insights from vertical looking entomological radar. PLoS One, 8(12), e82278 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082278

Thomas, A., Trotman, J., Wheatley, A., Aebi, A., Zindel, R. and Brown, P. M. J., 2013. Predation of native coccinellids by the invasive alien Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): detection in Britain by PCR based gut analysis. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 6, pp. 20-27.

Roy, H. E., Brown, P. M. J., Comont, R., Poland, R. L., Sloggett, J. J., 2013. Ladybirds (Naturalists' Handbooks 10) (Exeter: Pelagic Publishing). ISBN 978-1-907807-07-7

Gardiner, M., Allee, L., Brown, P .M. J., Losey, J., Roy, H. E., Smyth, R., 2012. Lessons from lady beetles: accuracy of monitoring data from US and UK citizen science programs. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10, pp. 471-476.

Roy, H. E., Adriaens, T., Isaac, N., Kenis, M., Onkelinx, T., San Martin, G., Brown, P. M. J. et al, 2012. Invasive alien predator causes rapid declines of native European ladybirds. Diversity & Distributions, 18, pp. 717-725.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., Comont, R. C., Poland, R. L., Shields, C., 2012. A guide to the ladybird larvae of the British Isles (Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council).

Roy, H. E., Brown, P. M. J., Frost, R., Poland, R. L., 2011. Ladybirds (Coccinellidae) of Britain and Ireland (Wallingford: NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology). ISBN 978-1-906698-20-1

Aebi, A., Brown, P. M. J., De Clercq, P., Hautier, L., Howe, A., Ingels, B., Ravn, H. P., Sloggett, J. J., Zindel, R., Thomas, A., 2011. Detecting arthropod intraguild predation in the field. BioControl, 56(4), pp. 429-440.

Brown, P. M. J., Thomas, C., Lombaert, E., Jeffries, D.L., Estoup, A., Lawson Handley, L-J., 2011. The global spread of Harmonia axyridis: distribution, dispersal and routes of invasion. BioControl, 56(4), pp. 623-642.

Brown, P. M. J., Frost, R., Doberski, J., Sparks, T., Harrington, R. and Roy, H. E., 2011. Decline in native ladybirds in response to the arrival of Harmonia axyridis: early evidence from England. Ecological Entomology, 36, pp. 231-240.

Recent presentations and conferences

Brown, P. M. J., Adriaens, T., Tricarico, E., Farrow, R., Price-Jones, V., Reyserhove, L., Roy, H. E., Groom, Q., Schade, S., Cardoso, A. C., Gervasini, E., Tsinaraki, C., Marchante, E., 2020. Citizen science for invasive alien species: a preliminary analysis for Europe. Neobiota - European Group on Biological Invasions, Vodice, Croatia. 15-18/09/2020.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., 2018. Ladybird community change induced by the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis: evidence from a long-term field study in the UK. IOBC / WPRS Working Group - Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents, Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. 12-14/09/2018.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., 2018. Tracking an alien: the spread and effects of Harmonia axyridis in the UK. Entomological Society of America: First International Branch Virtual Symposium. 16-18/04/2018. Invited plenary talk.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., 2017. Decline in native ladybird species caused by the invasive harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis: evidence from a long-term field study. British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Ghent, Belgium, 11-14/12/2017.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., 2017. The UK Ladybird Survey - Lessons from citizen science. Royal Entomological Society Public Understanding of Entomology Special Interest Group. Newcastle University, 13/09/2017. Invited talk.

Brown, P. M. J., Roy, H. E., 2017. Citizen science as a tool in ecology: Tracking aliens. University of Azores, Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal, 16/03/2017.

Roy, H. E., Grez, A. A., Zaviezo, T., Brown, P. M. J., 2017. 'Citizen science priorities for Chile' workshop. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, 24/01/2017.

Media experience

Peter has extensive media experience and has appeared on numerous television and radio programmes. These include The One Show (BBC1), Countryfile Diaries (BBC1), News at Ten (BBC1) and The Today Programme (BBC Radio 4).