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Darwin Hickman

Darwin Thomas Hickman
My research interests centre upon plant-plant, more specifically crop-weed interactions and how they may alter the dynamics between these species. I specifically have a background in examining allelopathy: the developmental inhibition of one plant species by another through the release of toxic secondary metabolites. My vision is to integrate knowledge of crop-weed interactions into the context of a whole ecosystem where they may be affected by other biotic stressors and environmental factors, with the intention of better understanding and applying them for effective ecologically-minded weed management.


Weeds are a major cause of crop yield losses. Many dominant weeds of agriculture are able to adapt quickly to attempts to manage them, for example through evolution of herbicide resistance, or phenotypic alterations to tolerate or avoid attempts at physical control. My work at SLU as a member of the Weed Ecology and Management Group involves examining the behaviour of weed communities and their response and adaptation to management factors, and considering novel methods to reduce their detriment for crop yield, chiefly through my background in chemical ecology.


I am a Guest Lecturer on the module 'Sustainable Plant Production- From Molecular to Field Scale', part of the Master program in Plant Biology for Sustainable Production, as well as the modules 'Sustainable food production - challenges and cropping system solutions', and 'The ecology of cropping systems'.


I am leading DIVERSOW, a two-year project in collaboration with postdoctoral colleagues from the Department of Crop Production Ecology and funded by Ekhagastiftelsen, which examines the potential of landrace and heritage wheat to contribute to agroecosystem and crop health in Swedish organic systems.

I am also a co-applicant and collaborator on the project 'Farmer driven development of economically and environmentally sustainable weed control strategies against blackgrass', funded by Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning (SLF).


  • 2023- current- Postdoctoral Researcher in Crop Production Ecology, SLU, Sweden.
  • 2017-2022- PhD in Biointeractions and Crop Protection, Rothamsted Research/ University of Nottingham, UK.
  • 2016-2018- MRes in Biosciences, Swansea University, UK.
  • 2012-2016- BSc (Hons) in Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK.
  • 2014-15- Undergraduate Placement Year in Biological Control of Weeds, Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research), New Zealand.


  • 2023- BSc Dissertation: Arable plant diversity on Gotland, Sweden, Uppsala University (Co-Supervisor)
  • 2024- BSc Dissertation: The potential for landraces to be used for climate adaptation in Swedish agriculture, SLU (Lead Supervisor)

Selected publications

  • Hickman, D. T., Comont, D., Rasmussen, A., & Birkett, M. A., 2023. Novel and holistic approaches are required to realize allelopathic potential for weed management. Ecology and Evolution, 13(4), e10018.
  • Hickman, D. T., Rasmussen, A., Ritz, K., Birkett, M. A. and Neve, P., 2021. Allelochemicals as multi‐kingdom plant defence compounds: towards an integrated approach. Pest Management Science, 77(3), pp.1121-1131.
  • Lange, C., Goeke, D. F., Hickman, D. T., Podolyan, A., & Houliston, G. J., 2018. Chloroplast diversity of giant buttercup (Ranunculus acris L., Ranunculaceae) in New Zealand and in its native range. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 56(4), pp. 385-395.


Postdoctor at the Department of Crop Production Ecology; Ogräsekologi
Telephone: 0761355874
Postal address:
Inst för växtproduktionsekologi, Box 7043
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala