New DECRA projects coming soon! 2/2

Molecular biosecurity: Genomic databanks for managing invasive pests – Tom Schmidt

Insect pests frequently establish invasions in Australia or are detected as incursions at borders, but little is often known about where they’ve come from or how best to manage them now they are here. One way to investigate these questions is to sequence and analyse pest genomes. These contain a wealth of information relevant to the evolution and ecology of pest populations that can inform specific issues in biosecurity and provide insight into general aspects of biological invasions and invasive species. The cost of producing genome-scale datasets has dropped precipitously in recent years, with current costs allowing pest genomics projects to operate at grand scale and provide incredible value for money.
My DECRA project will investigate invasions of four species in Australia, three of which have just recently established. By sequencing whole pest genomes, the project will determine invasion origins and current spread dynamics, investigate insecticide resistance evolution among populations and genomically characterise bacterial endosymbionts that live inside these pests. The project will also investigate fine-scale processes around new invasions, both with genomic data and simulations, and develop new methods for investigating these exciting biological systems.
Students interested in any aspect of invasion or spatial genomics should get in touch at No genomics background is required!