Our goal is to carry out research which underpins the sustainable management of fruit fly pests, both in Australia and globally. Internationally significant achievements of the QUT Fruit Fly Group, stemming from our core research strengths, include.
- In 2014, we were the first to identify that male lures are metabolism enhancers in fruit flies, starting a new research thrust in Australia and internationally on how these chemicals can be used as pre-release supplements to improve Bactrocera males mass-reared for the SIT.
- In 2015, former QUT Fruit fly Group research fellow Dr Mark Schutze was the first of 49 multi-national authors on the paper which formally synonymized the Asian Papaya and African Invasive fruit flies with Oriental fruit fly. The recognition that these three major pest species were, in fact, all the same biological species, was almost instantly adopted by the global community with greatly increased sustainable pest management and international market access opportunities in Africa and Asia.
- In 2018 we published the first methodology for studying the epigenomes of tephritid fruit flies, opening a whole new avenue for leading-edge genomic research in these flies.
- We have added to international theory on herbivore host range with a series of review and research papers on different aspects of polyphagy. These include evolutionary arguments for why polyphagy is so prevalent in the tropical fruit flies; and a theoretical model (“the sequential cues hypothesis”) to explain how generalist herbivores can rank potential hosts despite neural limitation.
- We have identified what we believe to be a quiescence stage in adult tropical fruit flies associated with surviving monsoonal dry seasons when hosts are lacking. This finding is currently being tested across a range of field sites and with different tools (molecular, physiology, phenology). If confirmed it will fundamentally change our understanding of fruit fly phenology.
Major research areas
Genetics and Genomics
Molecular techniques underpin much of what we do. Currently we are applying genetic and genomic tools to fields such as population structuring, host use, and individual behavior.Read more
A fundamental component of the work of the QUT Fruit Fly Group is external collaboration, both domestic and international. Partnerships are a core philosophy not just of our group, but the Queensland University of Technology as an institution.Read more
Supporting pest management
Fruit flies are major pests of horticulture. The QUT fruit fly group carries out strategic research, which supports the development of novel fruit fly controls, or helps improve existing controls. For our applied projects we work with most Australian state governments, the Commonwealth government, and international and multi-national organisations.Read more
Ecology & behaviour
While some species are major pests of agriculture, most fruit flies are non-pests which remain restricted to their native habitats – commonly rainforest. The great diversity of fruit flies, and their close association with plants, make them highly attractive models for biological research on topics as fundamental as speciation and co-evolution.Read more
Systematics & diagnostics
There are many hundreds of different species of fruit fly across Asia, Australia and Pacific. The ability to quickly and accurately identify unknown fruit fly specimens is dependent on knowing the relationship of that specimen to other members of its own and other species. Our work in this area underpins all other research that we do.Read more