Glenn Marion

Image of Glenn Marion
Head of Research
Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland

Following a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Edinburgh in 1996 Glenn has worked on the development of advanced statistical methods combined with systems approaches to improve management and control of both disease dynamics in plants and animals and the invasive spread of non-native species. These methods aim to extract maximum value from administrative, field & experimental data to estimate quantities of interest that are impractical or too costly to measure directly e.g. disease transmission and dynamics, and to provide actionable insights to enable better management at a range of scales. He is a member of the Scottish Government’s centre of expertise in veterinary epidemiology and coordinated the systems biology module of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Partnership in Animal Science. He has been Head of Research at BioSS since 2013 and is now a member of the Science and Advisory Response Team in the Plant Health Centre.

 

Projects

Project Lead: Glenn Marion
Dendroctonus Micans (D. micans) is a significant beetle pest of commercially important spruce species. The beetle is spreading north from England and is now present is Scotland. The spread of the beetle threatens the D. micans Pest Free Area (PFA) in west Scotland. This designation allows the transfer of the Scottish Spruce crop from the PFA to Irish sawmills, as Ireland is a D. micans free area. The Central Belt of Scotland is a relatively spruce free area and may act as a natural ‘firebreak’ to slow or stop the spread of the beetle. Scottish Forestry collect field data in annual surveys and release an obligate predator (i.e. a predator that can only survive in the presence of D. micans) at sites with observed D. micans infestation and sites believed to be at high colonisation risk. This project conducted a proof of principle study to assess whether developed computational tools could add value to the field data in annual surveys by Scottish Forestry to parameterise models of the spread of D. micans in space and time. The fitted model was also used to project scenarios of future spread.

Impact: Informed the control efforts of Scottish Forestry by predicting the spread of D. micans in Scotland and identifying the high-risk areas of colonisation. This project built on methods developed under the RESAS SRP and led to work commissioned by Scottish Forestry to inform their surveillance and control programme in 2018.

Publications