Rob Bourchier, Ph. D.

Research Scientist

Insect Ecology and Biological Control

Current research and/or projects

Characterization of invasive pests and exotic biological control agents  (Collaborator) 2019-2022

Assessing the range potential of Invasive Alien Species and associated herbivores under climate change with geospatial models of biological collections data  (Collaborator) 2018-2021

Enhancing Biological Control of Invasive Plants in British Columbia Biocontrol. CO-PI - 2018-2023.

Potential Insect Biological Control for Invasive Alien Plants in Ontario . CO-PI  2011-2020. 

Research and/or project statements

  • Host-plant insect interactions.

  • Population dynamics of biological control agents and their hosts.

  • Invasive species/biocontrol agents – impact, habitat and climate modelling


Professional activities / interests

  • Implementation of operational biocontrol for invasive plants in Canada.

  • Ecology and impact of established weed biocontrol agents

  • Development of new biological control agents for invasive plants in Canada

  • Student training


Education and awards

PhD, Biology/Ecology, University of Waterloo

MSc, Entomology, McGill University

BA,  Economics, Carleton University

C. Gordon Hewitt Award (2001), presented by the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC)

Federal Government 5-NR Science Award for Leaders in Sustainable Development with R. De Clerck-Floate for Weed Biocontrol Research 2001

International experience and/or work

Canadian lead for collaborative international projects developing new biological control agents for invasive plants, including knotweeds, phragmites, garlic mustard and swallowworts.

Key publications

For a complete list of publications, please visit: AAFC Online

2020 deJonge RB, IM Jones, RS Bourchier, SM Smith. Interpreting host-test results for classical biological control candidates: can the study of native congeners improve the process? DOI:

2020 Yang Xiaohui, AM Smith , RS Bourchier , K Hodge  and D Ostrander. Flowering Leafy Spurge Detection using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Imagery in Biological Control Sites: Impacts of Flight Height, Flight Time and Detection Method. Weed Technology. DOI: 10.1017/wet.2020.8

2019 Blossey, B, Endriss, SB, Casagrande, R, Häfliger, P, Hinz, H, Dávalos, A, Brown-Lima, C, Tewksbury, L., Bourchier, R.S.. When misconceptions impede best practices: evidence supports biological control of invasive Phragmites. Biological Invasions

2019 Hinz, HL, Bourchier, RS, Schaffner, U., Schwarzländer, M, Weed, A. Comment on Havens and colleagues. Bioscience 69(11), http://dx.doi.o​rg/10.1093/bios​ci/biz110 

2019 deJonge, RB, Bourchier, RS., Jones, IM, Smith, SM. Predicting the outcome of potential novel associations: interactions between the invasive Vincetoxicum rossicum and native western Chrysochus beetles, 21(10), 3169-3184. Biological Invasions http://dx.doi.o​rg/10.1007/s105​30-019-02043-4

2019 Seehausen, ML, Timm, C, Jones, IM, Bourchier, RS, Smith, SM. Reproductive life-history traits of the classical biological control agent Hypena opulenta (Lepidoptera: Erebidae): Using agent biology to support post release monitoring and establishment, Biological Control 135 95-101. http://dx.doi.o​rg/10.1016/​ocontrol.2019.0​5.010

2019 Bourchier RS, N Cappuccino, A Rochette, J des Rivières, SM Smith, L Tewksbury, and R Casagrande. Establishment of Hypena opulenta (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) on Vincetoxicum rossicum in Ontario, Canada. Biological Control Science and Technology .

2018. Blossey B, R Casagrande, L Tewksbury, H Hinz, P Häfliger, A Dávalos and R Bourchier. A petition for open–field releases of Archanara geminipuncta and Archanara neurica, potential biological control agents of invasive Phragmites australis in North America 158 pp. (Release petition submitted for regulatory review by CFIA, USDA APHIS TAG Nov 2018, Release permit granted by CFIA April 2019).

2017. DeJonge RB, RS Bourchier, SM Smith. Initial Response by a Native Beetle, Chrysochus auratus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), to a Novel Introduced Host-Plant, Vincetoxicum rossicum (Gentianales:Apocynaceae). Environmental Entomology In press. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvx072

2016. Andersen, J.C.  Bourchier, R.S, Grevstad, F.S.Van Driesche, R.D and Mills, N.J  Development and verification of SNP arrays to monitor hybridization between two host-associated strains of knotweed psyllid, Aphalara itadori. Biological Control 93: 49 - 55.   

2014. Gaskin John F., Mark Schwarzländer, Fritzi S. Grevstad, Marijka A. Haverhals, Robert S. Bourchier, Timothy W. Miller. Extreme differences in population structure and genetic diversity for three invasive congeners: knotweeds in western North America. Biological Invasions 16:2127–2136

2014 . Hinz Hariet L., André Gassmann, Mark Schwarzländer and Robert S. Bourchier.. Review; Successes we might never have had: a retrospective comparison of predicted versus realized host range of established weed biological control agents in North America. Invasive Plant Science and Management 7(4):565-579

2013. Grevstad, F., Shaw, R., Bourchier, R., Sanguankeo, P., Cortat, G., and Reardon, R. A comparison of the efficacy and host specificity of two populations of the psyllid Aphalara itadori for biological control of invasive knotweeds in North America.  Biological Control 65: 53-62.

2013. Elisangela Gomes Fidelis de Morais, Marcelo Coutinho Picanço, Karina Lucas Barbosa Lopes-Mattos, Robert S. Bourchier, Renata Maria Strozi Alves Meira, Robert Weingart Barreto. Diclidophlebia smithi (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), a potential biocontrol agent for Miconia calvescens in the Pacific: Population dynamics, climate-match, host-specificity, host-damage and natural enemies. Biological Control 66:33-40.

Book Chapters

2013.Bourchier RS and Van Hezewijk BH. Euphorbia esula (L.) (Leafy Spurge) Euphorbiaceae. In: Mason P. and Gillespie D. (eds). Biological Control Programmes in Canada 2001-2012. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxon, UK, pp. 315-320.

2013.Bourchier RS and Van Hezewijk BH. Centaurea diffusa Lamarck Diffuse Knapweed and Centaurea stoebe subsp. micranthos (S.G. Gmel. ex Gugler) Hayek [=Centaurea maculosa Lamarck], Spotted Knapweed (Asteraceae). Ibid pp. 302-307.

2013.Bourchier RS, Grevstad F. and R. Shaw. Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decraene, Japanese

 Knotweed; Fallopia sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) Ronse Decraene, Giant Knotweed; Fallopia x bohemica (Chrtek & Chrtková) J. P. Bailey, Bohemian Knotweed (Polygonaceae).  Ibid pp 321-328.

2013. Bourchier RS, Weed, A., Casagrande, R., Gassmann, A., Smith, S., and N. Cappuccino. Vincetoxicum nigrum (L.) Moench, V. rossicum (Kleopow) Barbar., swallow-worts, dog strangling vine (Apocynaceae). Ibid pp. 402-407.

2013.Hinz, H.L., Bourchier R, and M. Schwarzländer. Lepidium draba L., L. chalepense L., L. appelianum Al-Shehbaz, Hoary Cresses (Brassicaceae) Ibid pp. 332-337.  



Adjunct Professor -  Forestry, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. University of Toronto