Congratulations to Privilege Makunde on successfully completing his PhD. He had received his examiners report in December 2022 but could only present his prestige seminar “Biology and ecology of Eucalyptus psyllid pests in South Africa” in FABI on 31 January due to the festive season holiday period. Privilege completed his degree under the supervision of FABIans Prof. Brett Hurley and Prof. Bernard Slippers. His external examiners were Dr Angus Carnegie (Southern Cross University), Prof. Manuela Branco (University of Lisbon, Portugal) and Prof. Carlos Wilcken (University of São Paolo, Brazil).

Introducing Privilege, Prof. Hurley congratulated him on an excellent piece of research and praised him for his professional approach to his degree saying that he was always well prepared.

South African plantations are hosts to four eucalypt-feeding psyllid species, namely Spondyliaspis cf.plicatuloides (Froggatt), Glycaspis brimblecombei Moore, Ctenarytaina eucalypti (Maskell) and Blastopsylla occidentalis Taylor. To better understand the threat of eucalypt-feeding psyllids to this industry globally, Privilige’s PhD entailed completing a comprehensive review of their diversity, distribution, biology and impact was compiled. Beside their high diversity in Australia, the review points out how little is known about psyllids reported as invasive for the first time, such as S. cf. plicatuloides, a recent introduction in South Africa first reported domestically in 2014 on ornamental Eucalyptus trees. To manage eucalypt-feeding psyllids, long-term strategies, including resistant genotypes and parasitoids are required, which also requires a thorough understanding of their biology and seasonality.