Stephen Sharpe

Candidature

PhD Candidate

Thesis title

Biotic Mortality Factors of Australian Fruit Fly

Research Project

Australian tephritid fruit flies are the most significant pests in Australian horticulture. They cause economic losses of between $28.5 million to $100 million AUD, the majority of which is caused by the major pest the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni). Traditional methods of control have become limited; with dimethoate and fenthion now restricted due to negative impacts on human health and the environment. Furthermore, very little is known about pathogens that impact this fruit fly or other Australian tephritid fruit flies. Therefore the main aims of this research are to:

  1. Discover and characterise existing and novel viruses
  2. Characterise virus transmission and the impacts of virus infection on the host
  3. To determine the prevalence of these viruses in fruit fly populations across different regions

Outcomes of this research will provide an understanding of interactions of viruses and fruit flies which may eventually lead to new avenues for biocontrol, screening for healthy Sterile Insect Technique program (SIT) insects and viral epidemiology.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Markus Riegler, Professor James Cook, Dr Alexie Papanicolaou