Worm control expert big cricket fan

by Mike Isle

One of Lincoln University’s newer faculty members is more than happy to help local farmers with concerns about parasitic worms… or the Black Caps.

Dr Manjula T. Kularathna, a self- confessed ‘cricket fan’, has joined Lincoln University to implement extensive research into nematology, the study of crop-damaging worms.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Dr Kularathna completed his PhD in plant pathology from Louisiana State University in America. Dr Kularathna said that during his postgraduate studies he was fortunate to be guided by two eminent nematologists, Dr Charles Overstreet and Dr Edward McGawley, who did ground-breaking research into nematode management on a variety of agronomically important crops. 

“Their emphasis on understanding the effects of soil nutrients and soil texture on reniform nematode reproduction on cotton, has greatly improved management strategies in Louisiana,” he said.

“I will be looking to carry on their research here, and to help New Zealand scientists and local farmers understand and ultimately manage plant parasitic worms.”

Dr Kularathna said he is delighted to be living in New Zealand and particularly in Canterbury. He said the province catered to two of his great passions: science and cricket.