Barry O’Neil, Chair of New Zealand’s Fruit Fly Council, with Professor Phil Taylor, National Fruit Fly Council members Jon Durham and Geoff Raven, and SITplus Program Director Dan Ryan

3 February 2017

As part of the National Fruit Fly Council’s ninth meeting, members visited Professor Phil Taylor and the research group at Macquarie University on 30 January 2017. Alongside the extensive fruit fly research activities within the Behavioral Biology Research Group, Professor Taylor is Director of the Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation which is coordinating research efforts across Macquarie University, the Queensland University of Technology, and the University of Western Sydney. Professor Taylor was also a key contributor to both the National Fruit Fly Strategy and the National Fruit Fly Research, Development and Extension Plan.

The visit provided an opportunity for the Council to hear about current research activities, appreciate the perspective of academic researchers, and increase its understanding of the broader range of fruit fly research and management challenges.

Also joining the meeting were colleagues from New Zealand’s Fruit Fly Council which has been established as part of an industry and government collaboration to prepare for and manage any fruit fly incursion. While New Zealand is free from economic fruit flies, there are many areas of common interest between the two Councils and the opportunity to explore potential for collaboration or shared priorities into the future was valued.

Craig Hull (DAWR), Barry O’Neil (New Zealand Fruit Fly Council) and Chronis Rempoulakis (Macquarie University) inspecting a fruit fly cage

There was also the opportunity to visit the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute to speak with NSW Department of Primary Industry researchers and observe the Queensland fruit fly rearing facility. This facility currently produces the flies used in sterile insect technique releases in regions such as Young and for experimental programs.