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SARDI Seminar: Snails, moths and sterility!

Sep 21, 10:45 am - 12:00 pm

What do snugs get up to when they don’t know we are watching? – Helen Brodie (15 min)

Why on earth would anyone want to generate terabytes of video footage of snails and slugs? Farmers don’t trust these slippery suckers, and neither do we! Find out the challenges that come along with trying to monitor molluscs in a broadacre environment and how the data will be used to improve management of these frustrating pests.

The secret life of Plutella australiana, a cryptic ally of the world’s most damaging Brassica pest – Kym Perry (15 mins)

The diamondback moth has been intensively studied due to its capacity to rapidly evolve insecticide resistance, and status as the world’s most destructive pest of Brassica crops. Therefore, it came as surprise when a cryptic species apparently endemic to Australia was recently described; Plutella australiana. Despite evidence of high abundance, its pest status was completely unknown. We investigated the biology, ecology and genetic structure of these cryptic populations by intensively sampling potential host plants throughout Australia and genotyping mitochondrial DNA and thousands of nuclear SNPs from across the genome. We found that these species could hybridise in controlled crossing experiments, yet appear to be reproductively isolated in the wild.  Striking differences in genetic diversity, host acceptance, insecticide susceptibility, and infection with the endosymbiont, Wolbachia, revealed two very different moths with contrasting pest potential and colonization histories.

Manipulating Queensland fruit fly pupa colour – Rene Hurni (15 min)

Queensland fruit fly is an economically significant pest in Australian horticulture. There are a number of different target life stages involved in the sterile insect technique (SIT). This project focused on understanding a factor in the colour of the Queensland fruit fly pupa case. Following from the development of very pale Queensland fruit fly pupa interstate from an apple, nutritional influences within fly diet upon the  colour of pupa were investigated. The results show that pupa shade can be manipulated with nutritional components.

Where: Auditorium, Plant Research Centre
When: 10:45am –12 noon
Tea, coffee and biscuits provided at 10.45am.

Seminars are open to students, researchers and staff from other organisations.


Sep 21
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Auditorium, Plant Research Centre
Hartley Grove
Urrbrae, South Australia 5064 Australia



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