Doctor Andrew Gherlenda


Andrew GherlendaGraduated PhD 2016

Thesis Title

Effects of CO2 and temperature on Eucalyptus insect herbivores from individuals to communities

Research Project

Eucalypt tri-trophic interactions under elevated CO2 and drought conditions

Elevated CO2 is expected to reduce the palatability and quality of eucalypt leaves to herbivorous insects via the dilution of essential elements, such as nitrogen while increasing leaf defence compounds.

Changes in foliar chemistry may alter insect diversity and abundance within eucalypt forests. Tree water stress may act in an additive fashion with elevated CO2 further reducing essential nutrients.

The aims of the project are to determine the role elevated CO2 has on shaping insect abundance and short-term nutrient cycling within a mature Eucalyptus tereticornis woodland.

In parallel, glasshouse experiments will centre around Paropsis atomaria and/or related eucalypt feeding beetles feeding on Eucalyptus tereticornis and other eucalypts to determine the effects of elevated CO2 and its interaction with drought on plant defence, herbivore performance and whether this can cascade up the food chain to the third trophic level of parasitoids and other leaf beetle antagonists.

Research Project Supervisors

Associate Professor Markus Riegler, Dr Scott Johnson, Dr Tony Haigh, Dr Ben Moore


Book Chapter

Facey SL & Gherlenda AN, (2016) 'Forest invertebrate communities and atmospheric change'. in Global Climate Change and Terrestrial Invertebrates (in press) (eds S.N. Johnson & T.H. Jones). John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.


Ellsworth DS, Anderson IC, Crous KY, Cooke J, Drake JE, Gherlenda AN, Gimeno TE, Macdonald CA, Medlyn BE, Powell JR, Tjoelker MG, Reich PB, (2017) 'Elevated CO2 does not increase eucalypt forest productivity on a low-phosphorus soil', Nature Climate Change, vol.7, no.4, pp 279-282

Gherlenda AN, Crous KY, Moore BD, Haigh AM, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Precipitation, not CO2 enrichment, drives insect herbivore frass deposition and subsequent nutrient dynamics in a mature Eucalyptus woodland', Plant and Soil, vol.399, no.s 1-2, pp 29-39

Gherlenda AN, Esveld JL, Hall AAG, Duursma RA, Riegler M, (2016) 'Boom and bust: rapid feedback responses between insect outbreak dynamics and canopy leaf area impacted by rainfall and CO2', Global Change Biology, vol.22, no.11, pp 3632-3641

Gherlenda AN, Haigh AM, Moore BD, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Climate change, nutrition and immunity: Effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on the immune function of an insect herbivore', Journal of Insect Physiology, vol.85, pp 57-64

Gherlenda AN, Moore BD, Haigh AM, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Insect herbivory in a mature Eucalyptus woodland canopy depends on leaf phenology but not CO2 enrichment', BMC Ecology, vol.16, Article no.47

Johnson SN, Gherlenda AN, Frew A, Ryalls JMW, (2016) 'The importance of testing multiple environmental factors in legume–insect research: Replication, reviewers, and rebuttal', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.7, Article no.489

Hall AG, Gherlenda AN, Hasegawa S, Johnson SN, Cook JM, Riegler M, (2015) 'Anatomy of an outbreak: the biology and population dynamics of a Cardiaspina psyllid species in an endangered woodland ecosystem', Agricultural and Forest Entomology,  vol.17, no.3, pp 292-301

Ryalls JMW, Moore BD, Riegler R, Gherlenda AN, Johnson SN, (2015) 'Amino acid-mediated impacts of elevated carbon dioxide and simulated root herbivory on aphids are neutralized by increased air temperatures' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol.66, no.2, pp 613-623

Gherlenda AN, Haigh AM, Moore BD, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2014) 'Responses of leaf beetle larvae to elevated [CO2] and temperature depend on Eucalyptus species', Oecologia, vol.177, no.2, pp 607-617


  • Awarded the prestigious University Medal in recognition of his achievements in his University studies, including his Honours thesis 'Bottom-up versus top-down regulation of insect herbivory in eucalypts' - 2011
  • Won an award for his poster presentation "Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on plant-insect interactions" at the International Chemical Ecology Conference (ICEC 2013, 19-23 August 2013) in Melbourne.