Research is being undertaken to develop novel approaches for suppressing the dengue fever virus in mosquito vectors and for understanding, managing and controlling agricultural pests in the context of industry needs and climate change. The mosquito dengue work, centered on the role of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia in changing the virus-vector relationship, is being applied in northern Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam. This work constitutes one of the most promising scientific breakthroughs in the international battle to control dengue fever.
The research on pests of agricultural and horticultural interest explores fundamental questions that underpin the relationship between the pests, their ecological, agricultural, climatic environment, and their biology. Recent research has focused on a range of pests that attack grain crops and pastures particularly during their establishment phase, or that damage grape vines. Prominent pests of interest include redlegged earth mite, blue oat mite, lucerne flea, slugs and aphids, and mealybug in grapevines. The research successes have allowed the group to play a prominent Australian role in identifying robust approaches to integrated pest management.