Masters or PhD opportunity at the University of Melbourne

Help control the vegetable leafminer, a major quarantine threat for our food production systems

Supervisors: Prof Ary Hoffmann (Bio21 Institute, the University of Melbourne), Dr Peter Ridland (Honorary Fellow, the University of Melbourne) and Dr Paul Umina (Bio21 Institute, the University of Melbourne and cesar)

The greater project: The vegetable leaf miner (VLM) is a polyphagous species of agromyzid fly capable of infesting vegetable and flower crops and driving severe crop losses. In 2015, the first detection of VLM within Australia was made on Cape York Peninsula, and VLM is now considered at high risk of establishing within major production zones across Australia and causing severe detrimental impacts on Australian agriculture. This masters project will form one part of a greater project, funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia, which will combine molecular, morphological, modelling, chemical and biocontrol methods to detect, eradicate and manage VLM.

The collaborative team: The greater project, “RD&E program for control, eradication and preparedness for Vegetable leafminer” involves several partners including The University of Melbourne, AUSVEG, cesar pty ltd, Plant Health Australia and the North Australian Quarantine Authority.

The masters component: Biological control is a potentially significant tool for the management and eradication of VLM. This project will identify candidate parasitoid wasps for the biocontrol of VLM through a combination of literature reviews and field collections of agromyzids and their parasitoids across Australia. The project is expected to include a significant field work component, largely within key agricultural production areas of southern Australia, but with the potential to travel to the Cape York Peninsula. An interest in taxonomy and/or molecular methods would be ideal.

This project includes scholarship support of $7,500 per annum, and also includes ALL funds to support research and fieldwork costs.

The student undertaking this research will play a crucial role in developing sustainable control of a new threat to Australia’s agricultural industry.

Eligibility and application: The successful student will have a strong undergraduate record in a relevant field and an interest in entomology/sustainability.

Further information:

Prof Ary Hoffmann ( 03 8344 2282)

or Dr Paul Umina ( 03 9349 4723)