Photo of Darwin Hickman. Credit: Rothamsted Research



PhD student

Biointeractions and Crop Protection


Darwin is a PhD student in plant ecology at Rothamsted Research, with interests in plant-plant and plant-insect interactions underpinning the invasiveness of weedy plants and insect pests in natural and agricultural systems. He completed a BSc in Environmental Science at the University of Birmingham, including a placement year at Landcare Research in New Zealand, and an MRes in Biosciences at Swansea University. At Rothamsted, Darwin is investigating the chemical ecology of the interactions between crops and weeds, focusing on the herbicide resistant weed Alopecurus myosuroides in British wheat farming systems. In particular, he is interested in understanding the production of potentially inhibitory chemical compounds by these crops and weeds, with the intention of developing novel strategies for weed control that can exploit interactions involving these compounds. This will involve the identification of inhibitory compounds and their dynamics in the natural world through a variety of techniques from the fields of plant ecology, chemical ecology, chemical analysis and soil science. He is supervised by Paul Neve (Rothamsted Research), Mike Birkett (Rothamsted Research), and Karl Ritz (University of Nottingham), and will work in conjunction with Hutchinsons Ltd. to apply his research at a commercial level.




    Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ

      PhD project title:

      Getting to the roots of black-grass control: Crop-weed allelopathic interactions in Alopecurus myosuroides.- In association with University of Nottingham. 


      Master of Research in Biosciences, Swansea University- Pending Award.

      Batchelor of Science in Environmental Science with Professional Placement Abroad, University of Birmingham- 1st Class Honours, 2016.