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Theme 5 – Tropical Biosecurity

Entomopathogenic fungi

Fungi that infect insects are common in tropical regions of Australia. Despite their abundance, they were never previously taxonomically studied in Australia. Recent collections from Australian rainforests have revealed over 150 unclassified taxa on ants, flies, scale insects and spiders. This project will focus on the genera Akanthomyces, Cordyceps, Gibellula, Hirsutella, Hypocrella, Ophiocordyceps, and Torrubiella. A systematic revision and Lucid guide to 40+ Australian species will be produced, contributing to a better understanding of the health of insect communities and the identity of potential biological control agents of insect pests. Taxa have now been collected well beyond the target amount of 40. Forty fact sheets have been drafted and a new genus has been described and published.

Team

Sandra Abell (ATH), Roger Shivas (DAFF/BRIP), Thomas Marney (BRIP, UQ), Nigel Hywel-Jones (BioAsia).

Phytophthora dieback in the Wet Tropics

Dieback caused by the root-rot pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi is listed as a Key Threatening Process on the Commonwealth EPBC Act.  This project will survey, using a combination of opportunistic and semi-systematic approaches, for occurrences of dieback in conjunction with mountain flora surveys (project 3.3), taking soil samples for external analysis and recording (where possible) prominent species impacted by dieback.  The project will also resurvey monitoring sites established in the early 2000s to report on the changes in these sites.

Team

Stuart Worboys (ATH), Sandra Abell (WTMA).