In January 2015 Gudrun Dittrich-Schröder presented her PhD prestige seminar and passed her PhD exam. The research for her PhD was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Bernard Slippers, Prof. Mike Wingfield and Dr Brett Hurley. The external examiner for her defense was Prof. Tim Paine of the University of California, Riverside. The PhD was entitled “Molecular ecology and management of Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae)”.

Leptocybe invasa is a gall-forming wasp of Eucalyptus species and has become one of the most threatening insect pests to Eucalyptus plantation forestry. The broad aim of the project was to gain a better understanding of the biology of this wasp such that effective control measures can be implemented. Molecular studies as well as field-based studies were conducted. These aimed at understanding the genetic diversity within and between populations, invasion routes and investigated feasible control options, such as biological control and the breeding of resistant plant material.

We congratulate Gudrun on this wonderful achievement! She will continue working on Leptocybe as a postdoctoral fellow in FABI. Below are the first of Gudrun's publications from her PhD work.

Dittrich-Schroder G, Harney M, Neser S, Joffe T, Bush S, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2014) Biology and host preference of Selitrichodes neseri: A potential biological control agent of the Eucalyptus gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa. Biological Control 78:33-41. 

Dittrich-Schröder G, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP, Slippers B. (2012) Diversity in Eucalyptus susceptibility to the gall-forming wasp Leptocybe invasa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 14:419-427. 

Kelly J, La Salle J, Harney M, Dittrich-Schröder G, Hurley BP. (2012) Selitrichodes neseri n. sp., a new parasitoid of the eucalyptus gall wasp Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae). Zootaxa 3333:50-57.