My PhD research focuses on weed biological control of earleaf acacia i.e. Acacia auriculiformis which is native to Australia but a category-1 invasive weed to Florida, USA.
I am looking at an iterative approach for selecting the most effective herbivore biological control agent for this weed in the native range. This approach has recently been developed (McCulloch et al. unpublished) which uses an initial structured survey to identify broad patterns of host use and genetic relationships among the herbivores collected from the target plant species. Subsequent surveys are then guided by the molecular results obtained from the screening of the previously collected material. Successive surveys will thus enable refinement in the targeting of host plants, their locality and the associated herbivores, iteratively progressing towards the identification of the host specific herbivores.
Broadly speaking, this is a process of refinement and elimination which concludes with the identification and prioritization of the most promising biological control agents. Those biological control agents will then have the highest probability of being environmentally safe as well as effective in reducing the impacts of the target weed i.e. Acacia auriculiformis.
Previously I have earned more than 8 years of professional experience in the field of Agriculture Research and Development. A proven track record to be engaged in both National and International organizations. My special research interests include agricultural production, plant protection and IPM (Integrated Pest Management). I possess easily transferable skills such as organization, working with teams and technical writing skills