Dr Helen Nahrung

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Dr Helen Nahrung

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Research areas

  • Insect–plant interactions
  • Insect chemical and reproductive ecology
  • Invasion biology
  • Insect behaviour and physiology

Profile

Dr Helen Nahrung has over seventeen years' experience working on pest–insect biology and ecology towards sustainable pest management methods in plantation forestry. Her research focus is primarily on insect–plant co-evolutionary interactions, including host location mechanisms and host defence.

Helen was one of the last Honours graduates from the Department of Entomology at The University of Queensland. She worked for four years on the biological control of weeds at the Alan Fletcher Research Station, and moved to Hobart in 1999 where she completed her PhD through the University of Tasmania and Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Production Forestry on one of the state’s most serious hardwood pests. She then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Queensland University of Technology, also in the field of forest entomology, and subsequently worked for six years on hardwood plantation pests with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in the Forest Health Group. She has been at the University of the Sunshine Coast since early 2012, where she is involved in the ongoing development and conduct of empirical research towards understanding the interactions between, and developing effective management methods for, forestry pests in Queensland. Her expertise is in insect–plant interactions, but she has also worked extensively with natural enemies, development of predictive population models, and insect reproductive ecology. She is also interested in the applied use of semiochemicals/chemical ecology for pest monitoring and management.

Helen works between the USC Sippy Downs campus and the EcoSciences Precinct in Brisbane on several projects in hardwood, softwood and high-value timber plantations from Stanthorpe to the tropics, including chemical and landscape ecology, invasion characteristics, biological control, and population modelling.

Publications

Recent key publications of Dr Helen Nahrung include:

Nahrung HF, Loch AD & Matsuki M (2016) Invasive insects in Mediterranean Forest Systems: Australia. In Insects and Diseases of Mediterranean Forest Systems (eds T. Paine & F. Lieutier) pp. 431-454. Springer.

Nahrung HF (2017) Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae): revisiting some past perceptions. Austral Entomology 56: 148-152.

Nahrung HF, Ramsden MJ, Hayes RA, Francis LP, Griffiths MW (2016) Performance of Sirex noctilio’s biocontrol agent Deladenus siricidicola, in known and predicted hosts. Biological Control 103: 54-61.

Nahrung HF, Ramsden MJ & Griffiths MW (2015) Sirex woodwasp range expansion in Australia: performance and parasitism on two commercial pine species. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research 89: 310-315.

Nahrung HF & Swain AJ (2015) Strangers in a strange land: do coloniser traits in novel environments differ between aliens and natives? Biological Invasions 17: 699-709

Research grants

 

Project                                                     Investigators          Funding body                        Year              Focus of research
Biocontrol of eucalypt pests in Mekong region Lawson S, Douangboupha B, Nahrung H, Griffiths M    Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research  2014–2019 Improving eucalypt productivity through biocontrol of key Australian pests
Protecting Queensland's timber resource from pest and disease incursions Pegg G, Griffiths M, Nahrung H DAF - Forest Industries 2015-2017 Post-border pest and disease incursions on exotic pines
Managing risks associated with range expansion of Sirex woodwasp Nahrung H, Griffiths M                                 DAF - Forest Industries, National Sirex Coordination Committee 2015-2017 Predict and mitigate impact of a new invasive softwood pest in subtropical conditions and novel taxa
Current PhD students

Natalia Medieros de Souza: "Tri-trophic interactions among eucalypts, the herbivorous weevils Gonipterus spp and their parasitoids".

Ngoc Hoan Le: "Eucalypt-associated Megastigmus in Australia and their roles as biocontrol agents of gall-inducing Leptocybe spp".

Matthew Manwaring: "Mesostigmatid mites as predators of nematodes in sugarcane soils: occurrence ecology, food preference and biocontrol potential".

Flavia Sarti-Bonara: "Correlation Between and specific Characteristics of Essential Leaf-Oil Profile of Corymbia Species and Hybrids".

Firehiwot Eshetu: "Petri-dish Australasia: Sirex noctilio/Amylostereum areolatum/Deladenus siricidicola as a model system to study micro-evolutionary processes in invasion and biological control".

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