Erica McAlister

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Erica McAlister
Alma materUniversity of Manchester (BSc)
University of Surrey, Roehampton (PhD)
Scientific career
Public engagement
InstitutionsNatural History Museum, London
ThesisInvertebrate Colonisation and Succession on a Grazing Marsh, The Wetland Centre, London (2002)

Erica McAlister is a British scientist and museum curator.[1] She is an expert in insects and is senior curator of Diptera, in the Department of Entomology, at the Natural History Museum, London.[2]


McAlister was educated at the University of Manchester[3] and at the University of Surrey, Roehampton where she was awarded a PhD in 2002 for research at the The Wetland Centre, London.[4]

Career and research[edit]

She has appeared on various BBC Radio 4 programmes including the natural history programme The Living World, Who's the Pest?[5] and the comedy show The Museum of Curiosity where her contributions have been notable both for her enthusiasm for her subject and for her sense of humour.[6] She appeared on the BBC Radio 4 series Natural History Heroes in 2015 talking about entomologist George Verrall,[7] and on the Science Friday radio show in December 2017.[8] She has also appeared on the TV programmes University Challenge and the Museum of Life.[9]

Erica serves as president of the Amateur Entomologists' Society, which she uses as a platform for science outreach and research communication. In addition to radio and television appearances, she frequently presents talks at The Natural History Museum, Café Scientifique, and Pub Science. Erica has also been involved with outreach event Hullabaloo on the Isle of Wight,[10] with the National Poo Museum.[11] In April 2019, McAlister was a guest on Radio 4's The Life Scientific.[12]

The first edition of her book The Secret Life of Flies was published in 2017.[13]


  1. ^ Erica McAlister's Entry at ORCID
  2. ^ Anon (31 May 2012). "MOD staff are recruited to collect insects in Wiltshire". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  3. ^ Bardgett, Richard D.; McAlister, Erica (1999). "The measurement of soil fungal:bacterial biomass ratios as an indicator of ecosystem self-regulation in temperate meadow grasslands". Biology and Fertility of Soils. 29 (3): 282–290. doi:10.1007/s003740050554. ISSN 0178-2762.
  4. ^ McAlister, Erica (2002). Invertebrate Colonisation and Succession on a Grazing Marsh, The Wetland Centre, London (PhD thesis). University of Surrey, Roehampton.
  5. ^ "Who's the Pest?". BBC Radio 4. BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Othello, Richard Holmes, Insects, The Middle Classes". Night Waves. BBC. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  7. ^ "George Verrall, Natural History Heroes - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  8. ^ "December 29, 2017 - Science Friday". Science Friday. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  9. ^ "Erica McAlister". IMDb. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Hullabaloo – Shademakers UK". 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  11. ^ "Hullabaloo a huge success as thousands flock to Sandown". Isle of Wight News. 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  12. ^ "The Life Scientific: Erica McAlister on the beauty of flies". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  13. ^ McAlister, Erica (2017). The Secret Life of Flies (first ed.). The Natural History Museum, London. ISBN 9780565093365.