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Udari Wanigasekara - Ph.D. Candidate

Department of Entomology
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Study Nature, Love Nature, Stay Close to Nature.
It will Never Fail You!

-Frank L. Wright

My Enthusiasm....

Since my early days, I have been thinking about the nature and its creations, and I was puzzled with the scientific phenomena that I encountered in day to day life with the nature. The modern science is competing with the nature, but still science tries to understand the phenomena behind great innovations of the nature. The nature is beautiful, complex and diverse. The day I got above thoughts in my heart, I have dreamed of being an entomologist, not for the competing with the nature, but to understand the natural concepts and to create better world.

Current Research:

Assessing the Efficacy of Biological Control Agents of Cutworms (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Canola in Canada

Advisor: Dr. Barb Sharanowski

Since the 20th century, cutworms have been an issue for Canadian agricultural crops including canola. Chemical control is the only strategy currently used to control cutworms. However, chemical control is not highly effective due to nocturnal feeding, patchy distributions, and the subterranean existence of cutworms. Natural enemies are the most effective way of controlling cutworms. Predators, parasitoids, pathogens, and nematodes have all been used for control of insect pest as biocontrol agents, but predators and parasitoids use more frequently than others. However, some pathogens and nematodes also successfully control arthropod pests and most of these pathogenic studies based on entomopathogenic fungi. Parasitoids are the most effective biological control agent of cutworms but some parasitoids enhance the rate of feeding after infested by parasitoid. H owever, entomopathogenic fungi are able to suppress feeding damage at the period between infections to death. However, there is very limited knowledge on parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi attack cutworms in North America. Here I study the parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi as effective biological control agents of cutworms.

Past Research

Buzzing Bees and Crop Pollination

bee Pic For my Bachelor’s degree research, I investigated the flower visiting bees of the vegetable crop, Solanum violaceum, and the efficiency of buzz pollination by bees on fruit and seed production in Sri Lanka. Although S. violaceum is considered as a wild plant in most of the world, it is a vegetable crop in Sri Lanka. This was the first study to identify the wild pollinators of S. violaceum and their importance in fruit and seed set.I recorded seven bee species visiting the flowers of S. violaceum including: Hoplonomia westwoodi, Amegilla comberi, Patellapis kaluterae, Xylocopa tenuiscapa, Apis dorsata, Trigona iridipennis, and Ceratina hieroglyphica. The first four species were buzzing bees that that use sonication to harvest pollen. Fruit set, seed set, and seed germination in flowers visited by sonicating bees were significantly higher than flowers that were bagged to exclude pollinators.


Year Qualification
2006-2010 Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
2013 Onwards Ph.D. Student
Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Manitoba, Canada


Refereed Publications:


(1) Sharanowski, B. J., Y. M. Zhang, and R. W. M. U. M. Wanigasekara. 2014. Annotated Checklist of Braconidae (Hymenoptera) in the Canadian Prairies Ecozone. In Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 4): Biodiversity and Systematics Part 2. Edited by D. J. Giberson and H. A. Cárcamo. Biological Survey of Canada. pp. 399-425.

(2) Wanigasekara, R. W. M. U. M. & Karunaratne , W. A. I. P. (2012) Efficiency of Buzzing Bees in Fruit Set and Seed Set of Solanum violaceum in Sri Lanka. Psyche (Cambridge), 2012, 7pp.
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  • Abstracts:

    (3) Wanigasekara, R.W.M.U.M. and Karunaratna, W.A.I.P. (2010). Role of bees in pollination, fruit set and seed set in Solanum Violaceum. Proceedings of the Peradeniya University Research Sessions, Sri Lanka, Vol 15, 16th December 2010: 350-352.
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  • Awards

    Year Award
    2014 University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)
    University of Manitoba
    2014 Postgraduate Award
    Entomological Society of Canada
    2013 International Branch Graduate Student Award
    Entomological Society of America
    2013 University of Manitoba Travel Award
    University of Manitoba
    2013 Manitoba Graduate Scholarship (MGS)
    University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada
    2012 International Graduate Student Entrance Scholarship (IGSES)
    University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada
    2010 University Award for Academic Excellence
    University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
    2001 National Youth Award-Bronze
    The Bronze Standard of the International Award for Young People
    National Youth Award authority, Sri Lanka


    Hi! I am UDARI

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    Contact Information

    Udari Madushani Wanigasekara
    214 Animal Science Bldg.
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    R3T 2N2