PhD University of East Anglia, UK
Invasive species, Biological control, Population ecology, Entomology/Insect biology
The focus of my research group is the biological control of insect pests and the ecology of insect parasitism and predation. Classical biological control has an outstanding history of success in the sustained regional control of invading pests and provides exciting opportunities for both lab and field-based ecological research. However, not all biological control introductions result in spectacular reductions of pest damage and so a major emphasis in our work is to address arguably one of the most challenging questions in biological control research: what are the determinants of success in classical biological control? In addition to classical biological control, the augmentation of natural enemy populations is an aspect of biological control that is rapidly gaining attention. The use of natural enemies as biological pesticides raises some very interesting questions about the performance characteristics of natural enemies, strategies for release and optimization of impact. Natural enemies, and in particular insect parasitoids, are known not only for their importance in biological control but also as model systems for the analysis of many exciting questions in biology. As a result, our research interests include a variety of aspects of natural enemy biology, from behavior and evolutionary biology to population and community ecology through observational, experimental and comparative analysis. One of the most satisfying aspects of our work is the knowledge that the discovery of exciting new elements of natural enemy biology provides a direct linkage to the implementation of improved biological control and a reduced reliance on pesticide intervention in insect pest management.
Bürgi, L. P., Roltsch, W. J., and Mills, N. J. 2015. Allee effects and population regulation: a test for biotic resistance against an invasive leafroller by resident parasitoids. Population Ecology 57: 215-225.
Mace, K., and Mills, N. J. 2015. Response of walnut aphid populations to increasing foliar nitrogen content. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 17: 277-284.
Hopper, J. V., and Mills, N. J. 2015. Consequences of infanticide for a gregarious ectoparasitoid of leafroller larvae. Ecological Entomology 40: 461-470.
Reddy, A. M., Carruthers, R. I., and Mills, N. J. 2015. No evolution of reduced resistance and compensation for psyllid herbivory by the invasive Genista monspessulana. Plant Ecology 216: 1457-1468.
Andersen, J. C., Bourchier, R. S., Grevstad, F. S., Van Driesche, R., Mills, N. J. 2016. Development and verification of SNP arrays to monitor hybridization between two host-associated strains of knotweed psyllid, Aphalara itadori. Biological Control 93: 49-55.
Hopper, J. V., Huang, W.-F., Solter, L. F., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Pathogenicity, morphology, and characterization of a Nosema fumiferanae isolate (Microsporidia: Nosematidae) from the light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in California. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 134: 38-47.
Hopper, J. V., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Pathogenicity, prevalence and intensity of a microsporidian infection by Nosema fumiferanae postvittana in the light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana, in California. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 134: 27-34.
Mace, K. C., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Nitrogen-mediated interaction: a walnut-aphid-parasitoid system. Environmental Entomology 45: 891-896.
Jones, V. P., Mills, N. J., Brunner, J. F., Horton, D. R., Beers, E. H., Unruh, T. R., Shearer, P. W., Goldberger, J. R., Castagnoli, S., Lehrer, N., Milickzy, E.,Steffan, S. A., Amarasekare, K. G., Chambers, U., Gadino, A. N., Gallardo, R. K., and Jones, W. E. 2016. From planning to execution to the future: An overview of a concerted effort to enhance biological control in apple, pear, and walnut orchards in the western U.S. Biological Control 102: 1-6.
Amarasekare, K. G., Shearer, P. W., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Testing the selectivity of pesticide effects on natural enemies in laboratory bioassays. Biological Control 102: 7-16.
Mills, N. J., Beers, E. H., Shearer, P. W., Unruh, T. R., Amarasekare, K. G. 2016. Comparative analysis of pesticide effects on natural enemies in western orchards: a synthesis of laboratory bioassay data. Biological Control 102: 17-25.
Shearer, P. W., Amarasekare, K. G., Castagnoli, S., Beers, E. H., Jones, V. P., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Large-plot field studies to assess impacts of newer insecticides on non-target arthropods in Western U. S. orchards. Biological Control 102: 26-34.
Beers, E. H., Mills, N. J., Shearer, P. W., Horton, D. R., Milickzy, E. R., and Amarasekare, K. G. 2016. Non-target effects of orchard pesticides on natural enemies: Lessons from the field and laboratory. Biological Control 102: 44-52.
Jones, V. P., Horton, D. R., Mills, N. J., Unruh, T. R., Baker, C. C., Melton, T. D., Milickzy, E., Steffan, S. A., Shearer, P. W., and Amarasekare, K. 2016. Evaluating herbivore-induced plant volatiles and floral volatiles for monitoring natural enemies in apple, pear and walnut orchards. Biological Control 102: 53-65.
Mills, N. J., Jones, V. P., Baker, C. C., Melton, T. D., Steffan, S. A., Unruh, T. R., Horton, D. R., Shearer, P. W., Amarasekare, K. G., and Milickzy, E. R. 2016. Using herbivore-induced plant volatiles and floral volatiles to attract natural enemies for studies of ecosystem structure and function. Biological Control 102: 66-76.
Jones, V. P., Horton, D. R., Mills, N. J., Unruh, T. R., Milickzy, E., Shearer, P. W., Baker, C. C., and Melton, T. D. 2016. Using plant volatile traps to develop phenology models for natural enemies: An example using Chrysopa nigricornis (Burmeister) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Biological Control 102: 77-84.
Hopper, J. V., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Novel multitrophic interactions among an exotic generalist herbivore, its host plants and resident enemies in California. Oecologia 182: 1117-1128.
Andersen, J. C., and Mills, N. J. 2016. Geographic origins and post-introduction hybridization between strains of Trioxys pallidus introduced to western North America for the biological control of walnut and filbert aphids. Biological Control 103: 218-229.
Mace, K. C., and Mills, N. J. 2017. Connecting natural enemy metrics to biological control activity for aphids in California walnuts. Biological Control 106: 16-26.
Heimpel, G. E., and Mills, N. J. 2017. Biological Control: Ecology and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Mills, N. J. 2017. Rapid evolution of resistance to parasitism in biological control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114: 3792-3794.
Hogg, B. N., Mills, N. J., and Daane, K. M. 2017. Temporal patterns in the abundance and species composition of spiders on host plants of the invasive moth Epiphyas postvittana. Environmental Entomology 46: 502-510.
Andersen, J. C., and Mills, N. J. 2018. Comparative genetics of invasive populations of walnut aphid, Chromaphis juglandicola, and its introduced parasitoid, Trioxys pallidus, in California. Ecology and Evolution 8: 801-811.
Mills, N. J., and Heimpel, G. E. 2018. Could increased understanding of foraging behavior help to predict the success of biological control? Current Opinion in Insect Science 27: 26–31.
- University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Distinguished Service Award - Outstanding Faculty, 1997
- University of California, Berkeley, College of Natural Resources, Distinguished Teaching Award, 2002
- University of California, Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management, Award for Outstanding Mentorship of Graduate Students, 2012
- ESPM 44 - Introduction to Biological Control
- ESPM 113 - Insect Ecology
- ESPM 134 - Fire, Insects, and Disease in Forest Ecosystems
Nicholas J. Mills
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720