Prof. Chris Weldon leads the Flies of Economic Significance Research Group, which conducts research on the behaviour, ecology, and physiology of flies (Insecta: Diptera) that affect human activities in Southern Africa. Results from these studies inform sustainable management practices that can reduce reliance on pesticides, but may also facilitate the beneficial use of flies.
Dr Weldon has a research background that encompasses insect behaviour, ecology, and physiology. His research has addressed a range of themes using pest fruit flies, particularly the Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni, and more recently, the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, Natal fly, Ceratitis rosa, marula fly, Ceratitis cosyra, and B. dorsalis. Much of his research output is applicable to the control of these serious pests using the sterile insect technique while simultaneously addressing important fundamental biological issues, including tolerance of environmental stress and the fitness consequences of diet.
His current research addresses various interactions between phylogeny, life history, longevity, nutrition, water balance, and thermal tolerance using tephritid flies as model organisms. Students that he supervises are pursuing projects on the invasion of the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis, in Southern Africa, mosquitoes that are vectors for Rift Valley Fever, biting midges that transmit African horse sickness and bluetongue viruses, and blow flies that can be used as forensic evidence or for bioconversion of organic waste.