Enhancing biological control of the five-spined engraver beetle, Ips grandicollis. | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Enhancing biological control of the five-spined engraver beetle, Ips grandicollis.

Applications open until suitable candidate found

The bark beetle Ips grandicollis Eichh. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is a secondary pest of pine plantations in Australia. While this beetle seldom causes significant tree mortality, it can impact on plantation profitability by introducing blue stain fungi into attacked standing trees (particularly following fire) and in logs after harvesting operations,  lowering the value of timber products. Ips grandicollis has also been implicated more recently as a significant issue for export of pine logs from Australia.
A national biological control program was initiated for I. grandicollis during the 1980s, which resulted in the establishment of two parasitoid wasps, Roptrocerus xylophagorum (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) and Dendrosoter sulcatus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Both these parasitoids are present in pine plantations in southeast Queensland (and elsewhere in Australia). However, it is not currently known what impact these parasitoids have on beetle populations. This project aims to gather baseline information on the parasitism rates of these two wasps by sampling infested bark from logs felled as part of harvesting operations, from sentinel logs, and by rearing out beetles, wasps and other associates from infested logs. Factors known to influence bark beetle parasitism, such as bark thickness and hardness will also be investigated. These parasitoids are also known to respond to volatiles emitted from infested logs, which allows for the possibility to enhance parasitism rates through the use of semiochemical attractants. Project outcomes will guide future research into methods by which parasitism rates may be enhanced to reduce the long-term impact of I. grandicollis on wood quality and market access.

The successful applicant will work with an experienced team of entomologists in the Forest Research Institute that have a strong focus on developing effective and sustainable integrated pest management in production forests in Australia and Internationally.

The ideal candidate:

  • Is a highly motivated individual who possesses a strong work ethic and willingness to learn
  • Has excellent communication skills
  • Has the ability to work independently and within a team
Eligibility

1) Be accepted into a Higher Degrees by Research program at the University of the Sunshine Coast

Specific Eligibility Criteria not listed:

Previous experience in biological control of insect pests is essential.

A thorough knowledge of insect-plant-parasitoid interactions and experience with collecting and laboratory rearing insects is desirable.

International drivers licence or ability to obtain one is preferred.

Record of research publications

Research experience

Selection criteria
  • Criterion 1: Academic Achievement
  • Criterion 2: Research Capability

Specific criteria for project:

  • Bachelors Degree with First Class Honours or equivalent previous study, relevant work experience, research publications, or other research experience
Eligible programs
Master by Research
Number available
1
Value

1 - Stipend value of $33 446.56 p/a paid in fortnightly instalments. Payment is is for 1.5 years to align with thesis submission (possible extension in line with relevant policies and procedures)    

 

2 - Tuition offset scholarship for 1.5 years to cover cost of tuition fees, also aligned with thesis submission (possible extension in line with relevant policies and procedures) - approximate value of $43 000  

 

3 -  $2000 Allowance (Standard with a RTPS for relocation, Publication and thesis costs as per scholarship conditions

 

4- Overseas Student Health Cover for single person (international applicants) 

Application

This will be a two-stage application process:

Stage 1 - Expression of Interest:

Contact Person - Simon Lawson SLawson@USC.EDU.AU

  • Download and complete the USC Research Scholarship (USCRS) application form.
  • Email your Expression of Interest (EOI) to the contact person and attach:
    • USCRS application form
    • Cover letter
    • Current CV
  • The scholarship panel will review the EOI. If shortlisted, you will be invited for interview.
  • The preferred applicant will be invited to formally apply for HDR program and Scholarship.

Stage 2 - Formal application (only if you have been invited to apply)

  • Read the important information on How to Apply for a HDR Program at USC.
  • Submit your USCRS application form as a supporting document when submitting your HDR Program application.

*scholarship offer is subject to applicant meeting the eligibility requirements for entry into a higher degree by research program at USC.