Doctor Jennifer Morrow

Jen MorrowDr Jennifer Morrow joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) in May 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Plants, Animals and Interactions theme. She has a particular interest in pest insects and in applying molecular biology tools to understand their biology and ecology and ultimately improve pest management strategies.

At HIE, Jennifer is working with Assoc Prof Markus Riegler on psyllids, of the genus Cardiaspina, which recently caused massive defoliation of Greybox eucalypts in Western Sydney.

This project has two primary goals: investigation of the population dynamics of this and other Cardiaspina species using microsatellites; and investigation of the important interactions of these psyllid species with microbial symbionts, with a focus on their obligate symbiont Carsonella, through whole-genome sequencing and transcriptomics.

Jennifer received her PhD at the HIE in 2014, under the supervision of Dr Markus Riegler (HIE), Dr Marianne Frommer (UNSW) and Dr Deborah Shearman (UNSW), researching true fruit fly species of the genus Bactrocera. Various approaches were taken, with the aim of developing improvements to the current repertoire of management strategies for these species, especially Australia's major horticultural pest, Bactrocera tryoni.

This included investigation of sex-determination genes through transcriptome analysis; and characterisation of naturally occurring bacterial symbionts, with particular attention on Wolbachia, a bacterium known for its ability to cause reproductive anomalies in the host.

Areas of Research

Insect molecular biology, developmental genetics, bioinformatics, insect symbionts

Awards and recognition

  • Career Interruption Grant (2023), Western Sydney University.
  • Smith-White Travel Award (2012) Genetics Society of AustralAsia
  • F.G Swain Award (2011) Hawkesbury Foundation (Western Sydney University)
  • Travel grant for COST Training School and Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) (2011) Australian Academy of Science
  • Advanced Bioimaging Workshop Scholarship (2010) Hawkesbury, Western Sydney University.


Morrow JL, Sharpe SR, Tilden G, Wyatt P, Oczkowicz S, Riegler M, (2023) 'Transmission modes and efficiency of iflavirus and cripavirus in Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni', Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, vol.197, Article no.107874

Katlav A, Nguyen DT, Morrow JL, Spooner-Hart RN, Riegler M, (2022) 'Endosymbionts moderate constrained sex allocation in a haplodiploid thrips species in a temperature-sensitive way', Heredity, vol.128, no.3, pp 169 - 177

Sharpe SR, Morrow JL, Brettell LE, Shearman DC, Gilchrist AS, Cook JM, Riegler M, (2022) 'Tephritid fruit flies have a large diversity of co-occurring RNA viruses (vol 186, 107569, 2021)', Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, vol.189, Article no.107732

Towett-Kirui S, Morrow JL, Riegler M, (2022) 'Substantial rearrangements, single nucleotide frameshift deletion and low diversity in mitogenome of Wolbachia-infected strepsipteran endoparasitoid in comparison to its tephritid hosts', Scientific Reports, vol.12, Article no.477

Morrow JL, Riegler M, (2021) 'Genome analyses of four Wolbachia strains and associated mitochondria of Rhagoletis cerasi expose cumulative modularity of cytoplasmic incompatibility factors and cytoplasmic hitchhiking across host populations', BMC Genomics, vol.22, no.1, Article no.616

Sharpe SR, Morrow JL, Brettell LE, Shearman DC, Gilchrist AS, Cook JM, Riegler M, (2021) 'Tephritid fruit flies have a large diversity of co-occurring RNA viruses', Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, vol.186, Article no.107569

Towett-Kirui S, Morrow JL, Close S, Royer JE, Riegler M, (2021) 'Host-endoparasitoid-endosymbiont relationships: concealed Strepsiptera provide new twist to Wolbachia in Australian tephritid fruit flies', Environmental Microbiology, vol.23, no.9, pp 5587–5604

Morrow JL, Om N, Beattie GAC, Chambers GA, Donovan NJ, Liefting LW, Riegler M, Holford P, (2020) 'Characterization of the bacterial communities of psyllids associated with Rutaceae in Bhutan by high throughput sequencing', BMC Microbiology, vol.20, no.1, Article no.215

Morrow JL, Schneider DI, Klasson L, Janitz C, Miller WJ, Riegler M, (2020) 'Parallel Sequencing of Wolbachia wCer2 from Donor and Novel Hosts Reveals Multiple Incompatibility Factors and Genome Stability after Host Transfers', Genome biology and evolution, vol.12, no.5, pp 720-735

Morrow JL, Sa PT, Beattie GAC, Milham PJ, Riegler M, Spooner-Hart RN, Holford P, (2019) 'Additions of sugar and nitrogenous fertiliser affect plant nitrogen status and soil microbial communities', Applied Soil Ecology, vol.139, pp 47-55

Woruba DN, Morrow JL, Reynolds OL, Chapman TA, Collins DP, Riegler M, (2019) 'Diet and irradiation effects on the bacterial community composition and structure in the gut of domesticated teneral and mature Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Diptera: Tephritidae)', BMC Microbiology, vol.19, Article no.281

Morrow JL, Hall AAG, Riegler M, (2017) 'Symbionts in waiting: the dynamics of incipient endosymbiont complementation and replacement in minimal bacterial communities of psyllids', Microbiome, vol.5, Article no.58

Nguyen DT, Morrow JL, Spooner-Hart RN, Riegler M, (2017) 'Independent cytoplasmic incompatibility induced by Cardinium and Wolbachia maintains endosymbiont coinfections in haplodiploid thrips populations', Evolution, vol.71, no.4, pp 995-1008

Hall AA, Morrow JL, Fromont C, Steinbauer MJ, Taylor GS, Johnson SN, Cook JM, Riegler M, (2016) 'Codivergence of the primary bacterial endosymbiont of psyllids versus host switches and replacement of their secondary bacterial endosymbionts', Environmental Microbiology, vol.18, no.8, pp 2591-2603

Morrow JL, Frommer M, Royer JE, Shearman DCA, Riegler M, (2015) 'Wolbachia pseudogenes and low prevalence infections in tropical but not temperate Australian tephritid fruit flies: Manifestations of lateral gene transfer and endosymbiont spillover? Speciation and Evolutionary Genetics', BMC Evolutionary Biology, vol.15, no.1, Article no.202

Morrow JL, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, Riegler M, (2015) 'The Microbiome of Field-Caught and Laboratory-Adapted Australian Tephritid Fruit Fly Species with Different Host Plant Use and Specialisation', Microbial Ecology, vol.70, no.2, pp 498-508

Morrow JL, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, Riegler M, (2014) 'Tropical tephritid fruit fly community with high incidence of shared Wolbachia strains as platform for horizontal transmission of endosymbionts', Environmental Microbiology, vol.16, no.12, pp 3622-3637

Morrow JL, Riegler M, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, (2014) 'Expression patterns of sex-determination genes in single male and female embryos of two Bactrocera fruit fly species during early development', Insect Molecular Biology, vol.23, no.6, pp 754-767

Morrow JL, Riegler M, Gilchrist AS, Shearman DCA, Frommer M, (2014) 'Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of early male and female Bactrocera jarvisi embryos', BMC Genetics, vol.15, Supp 2, S7

Raphael KA, Shearman DCA, Gilchrist AS, Sved JA, Morrow JL, Sherwin WB, Riegler M, Frommer M, (2014) 'Australian endemic pest tephritids: genetic, molecular and microbial tools for improved Sterile Insect Technique', BMC Genetics, vol.15, Supp 2, S9

Shearman D, Frommer M, Morrow J, Raphael K, Gilchrist A, (2010) 'Interspecific Hybridization as a Source of Novel Genetic Markers for the Sterile Insect Technique in Bactrocera tryoni (Diptera: Tephritidae)', Journal of Economic Entomology, vol.103, pp 1071-1079

Raphael K, Shearman DCA, Streamer K, Morrow J, Handler A, Frommer M, (2010) 'Germ-line transformation of the Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni, using a piggyBac vector in the presence of endogenous piggyBac elements', Genetica, 1-7

An X, Wilkes K, Bastian Y, Morrow JL, Frommer M, Raphael KA, (2002) 'The period gene in two species of tephritid fruit fly differentiated by mating behaviour', Insect Mol Biol, vol.11, pp 419-430

Morrow J, Scott L, Congdon B, Yeates D, Frommer M, Sved J, (2000) 'Close genetic similarity between two sympatric species of tephritid fruit fly reproductively isolated by mating time', Evolution, vol.54, pp 899-910

Selected Presentations

Morrow JL, Riegler M, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, (2014) 'Expression patterns and transcriptome analysis of sex-determination genes in Bactrocera fruit flies', FAO-IAEA Coordinated Research Program Meeting "Development and Evaluation of improved strains of insect pests for SIT", Capri, Italy. Invited presentation

Morrow JL, Riegler M, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, (2013) 'Sex determination in the fruit flies Bactrocera tryoni and Bactrocera jarvisi', Australian Insect Molecular Biology Meeting, Sydney, Australia. Oral Presentation.

Morrow JL, Riegler M, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, (2012) 'Sex determination in the fruit flies Bactrocera tryoni and Bactrocera jarvisi', XXIV International Congress of Entomology. Daegu, Korea. Oral Presentation

Morrow JL, Riegler M, Frommer M, Shearman DCA, (2011) 'Australian Fruit flies and Wolbachia', COST Training School in Bioinformatics focusing on Next-Generation sequencing methods. Uppsala, Sweden. Oral Presentation.