Associate Professor Markus Riegler

Associate Professor Riegler's research interest focuses on the biology and diversity of arthropod symbionts, their role in insect adaptations to the environment and their application for the management of pest and vector species. He joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in 2009, after conducting post doctoral research at the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland (2002-2008).

Associate Professor Riegler obtained his doctoral degree in Entomology (Dr. nat. tech.) from BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, in 2002, where he also graduated in Agriculture (Diplom Ingenieur) in 1999.

During his research career Associate Professor Riegler has worked in several research institutions, including the IMBB-FORTH, Heraklion, Crete, Greece (2002), the Institute Jacques Monod, Universitee Paris 6 & 7, France (2001), Wageningen Agricultural University, Netherlands (1997), and the University of Reading, UK (1997).

At the Institute, Associate Professor Riegler is studying the microbial symbionts of Australian insects of ecological and economic importance, and is establishing entomological research in the context of the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment.

Areas of Research / Teaching Expertise

General & Applied Entomology, Insect Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Population and Ecological Genetics, Evolutionary Biology

Grants / Current Projects

Psyllid-induced dieback of Grey Box (Eucalyptus moluccana) on the Cumberland Plain
Co-researchers: Prof James Cook, Dr Ben Moore and Dr Paul Rymer
Partners/Funding Bodies: Environmental Trust Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
Period: 2013-2015

Fungal farmers in Australian trees: systematics of ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae, Platypodinae) and the diversity of their associated microorganisms
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Biological Resources Study (ACRG)
Period: 2014-2016

Shopping for tenants: does co-evolutionary addiction and symbiont meltdown leave jumping plant lice in need of new microbial partners?
Co-researchers: Prof James Cook
Partner/Funding Body: Hermon Slade Foundation
Period: 2012-2015

Genotypic and chemotypic diversity of Eucalyptus moluccana and its role in psyllid caused dieback
Co-researchers: Dr Ben Moore and Dr Paul Rymer
Partner/Funding Body: Bjarne K Dahl Trust
Period: 2013

High-throughput sample preparation robotics to enable emerging large-scale plant genomics, metabolomics and proteomics research
Co-researchers: Prof David Tissue, Prof David Ellsworth, Dr Ben Moore, Dr Paul Rymer
Funding: Australian Research Council (non ACRG)
Period: 2013-2014

Insect herbivore and plant responses in eucalypt forests under climate change at physiological, species and community scales
Researcher: Markus Riegler and David Ellsworth
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council
Period 2010-2013

A phytotron for multitrophic interaction research on plant production systems
Researcher: Markus Riegler, Oula Ghannoum and Bill Bellotti
Partner/Funding Body: University of Western Sydney Research Infrastructure Funds Scheme
Period: 2009-2010

Exploring microbial symbionts of thrips and their potential use for a novel biological control strategy
Partner/Funding Body: University of Western Sydney Research Grant Scheme
Period: 2009-2010

Modifying mosquito population age structure to eliminate Dengue transmission
Researcher: Markus Riegler (O'Neill et al.)
Partner/Funding Body: Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Grand Challenges in Global Health program
Period: 2009

Wolbachia genome dynamics in the cherry fruit fly RhagoletisResearcher: Markus Riegler (Stauffer & Miller)Partner/Funding Body: International Partner Invesitgator on Austrian Science Foundation
Period: 2006-2008

A comparative genomics approach to understanding host-endosymbiont interactions
Researcher: Markus Riegler (O'Neill et al.)
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council
Period: 2005-2007

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Awards and Recognition

2002 'Klaus Fischer' Award for Innovative Research, BOKU-Vienna, Austria
2002 'Dr Berthold Pohl' Award, Society of the Agronomists and Forestry Engineers of the Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano (BZ), Italy

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Publications

Cheng DF, Guo ZJ, Riegler M, Xi ZY, Liang GW, Xu YJ, (2017) 'Gut symbiont enhances insecticide resistance in a significant pest, the oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel)', Microbiome, vol.5, Article no.13

Dao HT, Beattie GAC, Spooner-Hart R, Riegler M, Holford P, (2017) 'Primary parasitoids of red scale (Aonidiella aurantii) in Australia and a review of their introductions from Asia', Insect Science, vol.24, no.1, pp 150-168

Fromont C, DeGabriel JL, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2017) 'Diversity and specificity of sap-feeding herbivores and their parasitoids on Australian fig trees', Insect Conservation and Diversity, vol.10, no.2, pp 107-119

Fromont C, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2017) 'Relative Abundance and Strain Diversity in the Bacterial Endosymbiont Community of a Sap-Feeding Insect Across Its Native and Introduced Geographic Range', Microbial Ecology, vol.74, no.3, pp 722-734

Hall AAG, Steinbauer MJ, Taylor GS, Johnson SN, Cook JM, Riegler M, (2017) 'Unravelling mummies: cryptic diversity, host specificity, trophic and coevolutionary interactions in psyllid - parasitoid food webs', BMC Evolutionary Biology, vol.17, no.1, pp 1-15

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

Ryalls JMW, Moore B, Riegler M, Bromfield LM, Hall AAG, Johnson SN, (2017) 'Climate and atmospheric change impacts on sap-feeding herbivores: a mechanistic explanation based on functional groups of primary metabolites', Functional Ecology, vol.31, no.1, pp 161-171

Shanks JL, Haigh AM, Riegler M, Spooner-Hart RN, (2017) 'First confirmed report of a bacterial brood disease in stingless bees', Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, vol.144, pp 7-10

Sutton TL, DeGabriel JL, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2017) 'Local coexistence and genetic isolation of three pollinator species on the same fig tree species', Heredity, vol.118, no.5, pp 486-490

Dao HT, Beattie GAC, Spooner-Hart R, Riegler M, Holford P, (2016), 'Primary parasitoids of red scale (Aonidiella aurantii) in Australia and a review of their introductions from Asia', Insect Science, (in press) DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.12275

Flores-Rentería L, Rymer PD, Riegler M, (2017) 'Unpacking boxes: Integration of molecular, morphological and ecological approaches reveals extensive patterns of reticulate evolution in box eucalypts', Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, vol.108, pp 70-87

Frew A, Barnett K, Riegler M, Nielsen UN, Johnson SN, (2016) 'Belowground ecology of scarabs feeding on grass roots: current knowledge and future directions for management in Australasia', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.7, p 321

Fromont C, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2016) 'Phylogeographic analyses of bacterial endosymbionts in fig homotomids (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) reveal codiversification of both primary and secondary endosymbionts', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.92, no.12, Article no. fiw205

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

Halcroft MT, Dollin A, Francoy TM, King JE, Riegler M, Haigh AM, Spooner-Hart RN, (2016) 'Delimiting the species within the genus Austroplebeia, an Australian stingless bee, using multiple methodologies', Apidologie, vol.47, pp 76-89

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

Nguyen DT, Spooner-Hart RN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Loss of Wolbachia but not Cardinium in the invasive range of the Australian thrips species, Pezothrips kellyanus', Biological Invasions, vol.18, no.1, pp 197-214

Ryalls JMW, Moore BD, Riegler M, Johnson SN, (2016) 'Above-belowground herbivore interactions in mixed plant communities are influenced by altered precipitation patterns', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.7, Article no.345

Schuler H, Kern P, Arthofer W, Vogt H, Fischer M, Stauffer C, Riegler M, (2016) 'Wolbachia in Parasitoids Attacking Native European and Introduced Eastern Cherry Fruit Flies in Europe ', Environmental Entomology, vol.45, no.6, pp 1424-1431

Schuler H, Koppler K, Daxbock-Horvath S, Rasool B, Krumbock S, Schwarz D, Hoffmeister TS, Schlick-Steiner BC, Steiner FM, Telschow A, Stauffer C, Arthofer W, Riegler M, (2016) 'The hitchhiker's guide to Europe: the infection dynamics of an ongoing Wolbachia invasion and mitochondrial selective sweep in Rhagoletis cerasi', Molecular Ecology, vol.25, no.7, pp 1595-1609

Sutton TL, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2016) 'One step ahead: A parasitoid disperses farther and forms a wider geographic population than its fig wasp host', Molecular Ecology, vol.25, no.4, pp 882-894

Fromont C, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2015) 'Characterisation of 14 microsatellite markers for the Australian fig psylloid, Mycopsylla fici', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol.63, no.4, pp 233-235

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

Kern P, Cook JM, Kageyama D, Riegler M, (2015) 'Double trouble: Combined action of meiotic drive and Wolbachia feminization in Eurema butterflies', Biology Letters, vol.11, no.5, Article no.20150095

King JE, Riegler M, Thomas RG, Spooner-Hart RN, (2015) 'Phylogenetic placement of Australian carrion beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae)', Austral Entomology, vol.54, no.4, pp 366-375

Mathenge CW, Riegler M, Beattie GAC, Spooner-Hart RN, Holford P, (2015) 'Genetic variation amongst biotypes of Dactylopius tomentosus', Insect Science, vol.22, no.3, pp 360-374

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

Nguyen DT, Spooner-Hart RN, Riegler M, (2015) 'Polyploidy versus endosymbionts in obligately thelytokous thrips', BMC Evolutionary Biology, vol.15, Article no.23

Rohrscheib CE, Bondy E, Josh P, Riegler M, Eyles D, van Swinderen B, Weible MW, Brownlie JC, (2015) 'Wolbachia Influences the Production of Octopamine and Affects Drosophila Male Aggression', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.81, no.14, pp 4573-4580

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

Sutton TL, Reuter C, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2015) 'Characterisation of microsatellite markers for fig-pollinating wasps in the Pleistodontes imperialis species complex', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol.63, no.2, pp 122-126

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

Langford EA, Nielsen UN, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2014) 'Susceptibility of Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae), to entomopathogenic nematodes', Biological Control, vol.69, pp 34-39

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

Steinbauer MJ, Burns AE, Hall A, Riegler M, Taylor GS, (2014) 'Nutritional enhancement of leaves by a psyllid through senescence-like processes: insect manipulation or plant defence?', Oecologia, vol.176, no.4, pp 1061-1074

Frew A, Nielsen UN, Riegler M, Johnson SN, (2013) 'Do eucalypt plantation management practices create understory reservoirs of scarab beetle pests in the soil?', Forest Ecology and Management, vol.306, pp 275-280

Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2013) 'Root Damage by Insects Reverses the Effects of Elevated Atmospheric CO2 on Eucalypt Seedlings', PLOS One, vol.8, no.11, article no.e79479

Murray TJ, Ellsworth DS, Tissue DT, Riegler M, (2013) 'Interactive direct and plant-mediated effects of elevated atmospheric [CO2] and temperature on a eucalypt-feeding insect herbivore', Global Change Biology, vol.19, no.5, pp 1407-1416

Murray TJ, Tissue DT, Ellsworth DS, Riegler M, (2013) 'Interactive effects of pre-industrial, current and future [CO2] and temperature on an insect herbivore of Eucalyptus', Oecologia, vol.171, no.4, pp 1025-1035

Ryalls JMW, Riegler M, Moore BD, Johnson SN, (2013) 'Biology and trophic interactions of lucerne aphids', Agricultural and Forest Entomology, vol.15, no.4, pp 335-350

Ryalls JM, Riegler M, Moore BD, Lopaticki G, Johnson SN, (2013) 'Effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on aboveground-belowground systems: a case study with plants, their mutualistic bacteria and root / shoot herbivores', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.4, p 445

Schneider DI, Riegler M, Arthofer W, Mercot H, Stauffer C, Miller WJ, (2013) 'Uncovering Wolbachia diversity upon artificial host transfer', PLOS One, vol.8, no.12, Article no.e82402

Schuler H, Bertheau C, Egan SP, Feder JL, Riegler M, Schlick-Steiner BC, Steiner FM, Johannesen J, Kern P, Tuba K, Lakatos F, Köppler K, Arthofer W, Stauffer C, (2013) 'Evidence for a recent horizontal transmission and spatial spread of Wolbachia from endemic Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae) to invasive Rhagoletis cingulata in Europe', Molecular Ecology, vol.22, no.15, pp 4101-4111

Woolfit M, Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Brownlie JC, Walker T, Riegler M, Seleznev A, Popovici J, Rances E, Wee BA, Pavlides J, Sullivan MJ, Beatson SA, Lane A, Sidhu M, McMeniman CJ, McGraw EA, O'Neill SL, (2013) 'Genomic Evolution of the Pathogenic Wolbachia Strain, wMelPop', Genome Biology and Evolution, vol.5, no.11 pp 2189 - 2204

Riegler M, Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Woolfit M, Miller WJ, O'Neill SL, (2012) 'Tandem repeat markers as novel diagnostic tools for high resolution fingerprinting of Wolbachia', BMC Microbiology, vol.12, supplement 1, Article No.S12

Arthofer W, Riegler M, Schuler H, Schneider D, Moder K, Miller WJ, Stauffer C, (2011), 'Allele intersection analysis: A novel tool for multi locus sequence assignment in multiply infected hosts', PLoS ONE, vol.6, no.7, e22198

Schuler H, Arthofer W, Riegler M, Bertheau C, Krumböck S, Köppler K, Vogt H, Teixeira LAF, Stauffer C, (2011) 'Multiple Wolbachia infections in Rhagoletis pomonella', Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, vol.139, no.2, pp 138-144

Arthofer W, Avtzis DN, Riegler M, Stauffer C, (2010) 'Mitochondrial phylogenies in the light of pseudogenes and Wolbachia: re-assessment of a bark beetle dataset', ZooKeys, vol.56, pp 269-280

Almany GR, De Arruda MP, Arthofer W, Atallah ZK, Beissinger SR, Berumen ML, Bogdanowicz SM, Brown SD, Bruford MW, Burdine C, Busch JW, Campbell NR, Carey D, Carstens BC, Chu KH, Cubeta MA, Cuda JP, Cui ZX, Datnoff LE, Davila JA, Davis ES, Davis RM, Diekmann OE, Eizirik E, Fargallo JA, Fernandes F, Fukuda H, Gale LR, Gallagher E, Gao YQ, Girard P, Godhe A, Goncalves EC, Gouveia L, Grajczyk AM, Grose MJ, Gu ZF, Hallden C, Harnstrom K, Hemmingsen AH, Holmes G, Huang CH, Huang CC, Hudman SP, Jones GP, Kanetis L, Karunasagar I, Karunasagar I, Keyghobadi N, Klosterman SJ, Klug PE, Koch J, Koopman MM, Koppler K, Koshimizu E, Krumbock S, Kubisiak T, Landis JB, Lasta ML, Lee CY, Li QQ, Li SH, Lin RC, Liu M, Liu N, Liu WC, Liu Y, Loiseau A, Luan WS, Maruthachalam KK, McCormick HM, Mellick R, Monnahan PJ, Morielle-Versute E, Murray TE, Narum SR, Neufeld K, de Nova PJG, Ojiambo PS, Okamoto N, Othman AS, Overholt WA, Pardini R, Paterson IG, Patty OA, Paxton RJ, Planes S, Porter C, Pratchett MS, Puttker T, Rasic G, Rasool B, Rey O, Riegler M, Riehl C, Roberts JMK, Roberts PD, Rochel E, Roe KJ, Rossetto M, Ruzzante DE, Sakamoto T, Saravanan V, Sarturi CR, Schmidt A, Schneider MPC, Schuler H, Serb JM, Serrao ETA, Shi YH, Silva A, Sin YW, Sommer S, Stauffer C, Strussmann CA, Subbarao KV, Syms C, Tan F, Tejedor ED, Thorrold SR, Trigiano RN, Trucco MI, Tsuchiya-Jerep MTN, Vergara P, van de Vliet MS, Wadl PA, Wang AM, Wang HX, Wang RX, Wang XW, Wang Y, Weeks AR, Wei FW, Werner WJ, Wiley EO, Williams DA, Wilkins RJ, Wisely SM, With KA, Wu DH, Yao CT, Yau C, Yeap BK, Zhai BP, Zhan XJ, Zhang GY, Zhang SY, Zhao R, Zhu LF, (2009) 'Permanent Genetic Resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources Database 1 May 2009-31 July 2009', Molecular Ecology Resources, vol.9, no.6, pp 1460-1466

Arthofer W, Krumböck S, Schuler H, Rasool B, Riegler M, Köppler K, Stauffer C, (2009) Thirteen new microsatellite loci in Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae), a model host species for Wolbachia symbiosis in field populations, as part of: Molecular Ecology Resources Primer Development Consortium (2009) 'Permanent Genetic Resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources Database 1 May 2009–31 July 2009', Molecular Ecology Resources, vol.9, pp 1460–1559

Arthofer W, Riegler M, Avtzis DN, Stauffer C, (2009) 'Evidence for low titre infections in insect symbiosis: Wolbachia in the bark beetle Pityogenes chalcographus (Coleoptera, Scolytinae)', Environmental Microbiology, vol.11, no.8, pp 1923-1933

Arthofer W, Riegler M, Schneider D, Krammer M, Miller WJ, Stauffer C, (2009) 'Hidden Wolbachia diversity in field populations of the European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera, Tephritidae)', Molecular Ecology, vol.18, no.18, pp 3816-3830

Beninati T*, Riegler M*, Vilcins I, McFadyen R, Sacchi L, Krockenberger M, Bandi C, O'Neill SL, Lo N, (2009) 'Absence of the symbiont Candidatus Midichloriamitochondrii in themitochondria of the tickIxodes holocyclus', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol.299, no.2, pp 241-247 * equal first co-authors

Brownlie JC, Cass BN, Riegler M, Witsenburg JJ, Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, McGraw EA, O'Neill SL, (2009) 'Evidence for metabolic provisioning by a common invertebrate endosymbiont, Wolbachia pipientis, during periods of nutritional stress', Public Library of Science Pathogens, vol.5, no.4, April 2009, e1000368

Moreira LA, Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Jeffery JA, Lu G, Pyke AT, Hedges LM, Rocha BC, Hall-Mendelin S, Day A, Riegler M, Hugo LE, Johnson KN, Kay BH, McGraw EA, van den Hurk AF, Ryan PA, O'Neill SL, (2009) 'A Wolbachia symbiont in Aedes aegypti limits infection with dengue, Chikungunya and Plasmodium', Cell, vol.139, no.7, pp 1268-1278

Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2007) 'Evolutionary dynamics of insect symbiont associations', Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol.22, pp 625-627

Yamada R, Floate KD, Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2007) 'Male development time influences the strength of Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility expression in Drosophila melanogaster', Genetics, vol.177, pp 801-808

Miller WJ, Riegler M, (2006) 'Evolutionary Dynamics of wAu-like Wolbachia variants in neotropical Drosophila spp.', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.72, pp 826-835

Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2006) 'The Genus Wolbachia', in The Prokaryotes: A handbook on the biology of bacteria: Vol. 5: Proteobacteria: Alpha and Beta Subclass. 3rd edition, Dworkin M, Falkow S, Rosenberg E, Schleifer KH, Stackebrandt E, (Eds), Springer, New York, NY. pp 547–561

Riegler M, Sidhu M, Miller WJ, O'Neill SL, (2005) 'Evidence for a global Wolbachia replacement in Drosophila melanogaster', Current Biology, vol.15, pp 1428-1433

Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Burke GR, Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2005) 'Distribution, expression, and motif variability of ankyrin domain genes in Wolbachia pipientis', Journal of Bacteriology, vol.187, pp 5136-5145

Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2005) 'New names for old strains? Wolbachia wSim is actually wRi', Genome Biology, vol.6, p 401

Charlat S, Riegler M, Baures I, Poinsot D, Stauffer C, Merçot H, (2004) 'Incipient evolution of Wolbachia compatibility types', Evolution, vol.58, pp 1901-1908

Zabalou S, Riegler M, Theodorakopoulou M, Stauffer C, Savakis C, Bourtzis K, (2004) 'Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility as a means for insect pest population control', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, vol.101, pp 15042-15045

Wu M, Sun LV, Vamathevan J, Riegler M, Deboy R, Brownlie JC, McGraw EA, Martin W, Esser C, Ahmadinejad N, Wiegand C, Madupu R, Beanan MJ, Brinkac LM, Daugherty SC, Durkin AS, Kolonay JF, Nelson WC, Mohamoud Y, Lee P, Berry K, Young MB, Utterback T, Weidman J, Nierman WC, Paulsen IT, Nelson KE, Tettelin H, O'Neill SL, Eisen JA, (2004) 'Phylogenomics of the reproductive parasite Wolbachia pipientis wMel: a streamlined genome overrun by mobile genetic elements', Public Library of Science Biology, vol.2, pp 327-341

Riegler M, Charlat S, Stauffer C, Merçot H, (2004) 'Wolbachia transfer from Rhagoletis cerasi to Drosophila simulans: investigating the outcomes of host-symbiont coevolution', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.70, pp 273-279

Sun LV, Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2003) 'Development of a physical and genetic map of the virulent Wolbachia strain wMelPop', Journal of Bacteriology, vol.185, pp 7077-7084

Riegler M, Stauffer C, (2002) 'Wolbachia infections and superinfections in cytoplasmic incompatible populations of the European cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera, Tephritidae)', Molecular Ecology, vol.11, pp 2425-2434

Kohlmayr B*, Riegler M*, Wegensteiner R, Stauffer C, (2002) 'Morphological and genetic identification of the three pine pests of the genus Tomicus (Coleoptera, Scolytidae) in Europe', Agricultural and Forest Entomology, vol.4, pp 151-157 * equal first co-authors

Konrad H, Kirisits T, Riegler M, Halmschlager E, Stauffer C, (2002) 'Genetic evidence for natural hybridization between the Dutch elm disease pathogens Ophiostoma novo-ulmi ssp. novo-ulmi and ssp. americana', Plant Pathology, vol.51, pp 78-84

Book Chapter

Riegler M, O'Neill SL, (2006) The Genus Wolbachia. In: The Prokaryotes: A handbook on the biology of bacteria: Vol. 5: Proteobacteria: Alpha and Beta Subclass. 3rd edition. Dworkin M, Falkow S, Rosenberg E, Schleifer KH and Stackebrandt E (eds). Springer, New York, NY. pp 547–561

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Current Research Interests

Insects and other arthropods carry manifold microbial symbionts that contribute to their ecological success and economic importance. These symbionts can be seen as 'acquired' genomes that can synthesise required nutrients for hosts, protect their hosts against parasites and pathogens, or influence patterns of host plant use. Some of these symbionts can also act as parasites, for example, by hijacking the reproductive biology of hosts for their own transmission benefit. My research focuses on different aspects of arthropod symbiosis, with examples listed below.

Wolbachia

Transfer of Wolbachia symbionts into pest and vector insects

Wolbachiaare maternally inherited, intracellular α-Proteobacteria, are extremely common in insects (with up to 70% of all species infected) and can manipulate host reproduction.

The most common reproductive phenotype is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that occurs between Wolbachia infected males and uninfected females, leading to embryonic mortality in the offspring. This effect can be applied in pest and vector management by mass-releasing Wolbachia infected males into uninfected target populations.

Wolbachia will then lead to local suppression of insect populations. We are currently establishing and testing this method as a new biocontrol strategy for fruit flies of economic importance. In another international research project, we are currently targeting the Dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti with a virulent Wolbachia strain that not only causes CI but also shortens the lifespan of mosquitoes – a phenotype that will stop mosquitoes from transmitting human pathogens.

Leaf Beetle

Climate change and insects

The Hawkesbury Forest Experiment (HFE) is the world's leading experiment on how eucalypts will react and adapt to climate change within the next decades.

The HFE demonstrates that increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and changed rainfall patterns dramatically affect the growth and biochemistry of eucalypt leaves.

These changes will most likely cause stress in the broad array of insects that feed on Australian eucalypts. We are surveying the arthropod diversity and herbivorous activity in HFE plots that include several eucalypt species under different fertilization and irrigation treatments.

We have established lab colonies of eucalypt leaf feeders (leaf beetles and geometrid moths) in order to assay physiological and developmental parameters of these herbivorous insects and their microbial associations on leaves from CO2 and drought treatments.

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Research Collaborations

  • Professor Scott O'Neill (UQ)
  • Professor Bill Foley (ANU)
  • Professor Christian Stauffer (BOKU, Austria)
  • Professor Wolfgang Miller (Medical University Vienna, Austria)
  • Dr Marianne Frommer (University of Sydney)
  • Dr Deborah Shearman (University of Sydney)
  • Professor David Ellsworth (Western Sydney University)
  • Professor Andrew Beattie (Western Sydney University)
  • Assoc. Prof. Robert Spooner-Hart (Western Sydney University)
  • Ms Sarah Bingham (Research assistant)

Student Supervision


Honours and PhD research projects are available for qualified and enthusiastic students. Feel free to approach me if you are interested in pursuing research in any of the areas listed above. Post-doctoral research candidates are invited to contact me with regard to potential research projects.