Dr Komal Gurdasani
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Weeds lead to significant agricultural, land mass and economic loss. The primary means of controlling weeds is chemical or mechanical. However, some weeds are difficult to eliminate with traditional methods. This problem can be dealt with using insect pests as natural enemies (plant-feeding insects that are host-species specific) to control invasive weed populations.
My current work is focused on the molecular screening and characterisation of invasive weeds within Australia and USA and also their proposed biocontrol agents. These include ferns (Lygodium, Azolla), African boxthorn (Lycium) and their potential biocontrol agents (mainly insects). The molecular work involves the use of traditional and next generation sequencing methods as tools to answer the main questions related to the research, like, provenance of invasive weed populations, molecular phylogeny of biocontrol agents and genetic structuring and gene flow in both weeds and their biocontrol agents. The genetic data play a key role in selection of specific biocontrol agents for further testing and potential release which is crucial to effective weed management on farms and elsewhere.