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CRC60109: Fruit Fly Host Use - PhD

This project will aim to investigate and model the role of different host plants and sources of those plants (e.g. commercial versus domestic) in the regional population dynamics of Q-fly as an aid to developing area-wide management as a pre-harvest market-access tool. 

What is the biosecurity problem?

Fruit flies represent the single most significant phytosanitary barrier for domestic and international market access for most fruit and some vegetable commodities. Many horticultural industries in Australia which produce fruit fly host commodities need enhanced export opportunities to remain viable. Export markets and some domestic markets frequently require that rigid phytosanitary protocols must be implemented to guarantee that commodities are free from fruit fly. Australian commodity producers and exporters already work within an environment where we have a number of key domestic fruit fly pest species (especially Bactrocera tryoni, a.k.a Queensland fruit fly or Q-fly), but the situation could, at any time, become significantly worse with 47 exotic fruit fly species listed in industry biosecurity plans.

The main outputs of this project are to:

  • help substantially to increase our knowledge of the interactions between individual frugivores (in this case fruit flies) and the impact this has on emergent properties, such as population size
  • develop experimental and theoretical links between autecology (the ecology of individuals) and population ecology, and
  • impact on management recommendations for fruit flies, particularly with respect to managing non-crop sources of fruit flies, including post-picking fruit, feral fruit and native fruit.

Who will be the end-users of this research?

The end users will be field based fruit fly researchers who advise local consultants and growers.  Information will also be incorporated into the outputs of larger CRCNPB fruit fly projects.


Sakuntala Muthuthantri
Student CRC60109: Fruit Fly Host Use - PhD

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Assoc. Prof Anthony R Clarke and Dr Raghu Sathyamurthy (Queensland University of Technology)
August 2008 - August 2011