An internationally leading centre for fruit fly research and education, QUT partners with industry, government and other researchers to ensure the best possible science and technology is applied to solving the global biosecurity issues caused by these pests. To our partners we offer expertise in off-shore preparedness, surveillance, diagnostics, in-field control and capacity enhancement. Our sponsors include the Australian Government, the Queensland Government, the CRC Plant Biosecurity, the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme Nuclear Techniques in Food & Agriculture, and more.
Fruit flies are globally significant pests of agriculture. These flies lay their eggs into fruits and fleshy vegetables, where the resultant maggots feed. Fruit fly infestation results in direct crop loss, as well as restrictions to fresh-commodity trade and market access. However, fewer than 3% of all tephritids are pests, with the remainder (nearly 5000 species) being important parts of local ecosystems, where they breed in habitats as diverse as the flower heads of daisies and bamboo shoots, as well as fleshy fruit.
At the Queensland University of Technology, the Fruit Fly Research Group studies both the pest and non-pest tephritids. We believe that long-term, sustainable pest control needs to be based upon the best possible underpinning science. This science involves not just understanding the pest within a crop, but also what the pest and non-pest species are doing in the wider landscape. Our work on pest species includes strategic research in developing novel lures, understanding fruit fly ecology for area-wide management, and developing species specific diagnostics markers for quarantine and surveillance. Our work on non-pest flies includes studying the differing roles of biogeography and host-use on speciation, developing the practice and theory of integrative taxonomy, and applying novel tools such as metabolomics to understand the evolution of diet breadth.