A mini-symposium on 15 November showcased the diversity of research on the woodwasp  Sirex noctilio conducted at FABI by postgraduate students and staff, as well as collaborators from Japan. Drawing on the resources and capacity available at FABI, the symposium highlighted the need for a holistic approach in the control and management of the invasive woodwasp. The research focused on, but was not limited to, the complex interaction between the woodwasp, its fungal symbiont Amylostereum areolatum and the nematode Deladenus siricidicola as a biological control agent.  

Professor Bernard Slippers opened the meeting by giving an overview on the introduction of the Sirex woodwasp in South Africa and the research that emanated from it. Prof Masanobu Tabata and Prof Natsumi Kanzaki from the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute presented on Sirex research in Japan. Staff at the FABI Biocontrol Centre, who play an integral role in the research, also attended.

Alisa Postma: Amylostereum-Deladenus-Sirex genomics: Opportunities arising from the genomes of a tripartite symbiotic system

MSc student Bianca Jardim: Characterising sex determination genes of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siridicae)

PhD student Josephine Queffelec: Sirex noctilio: Influence of reproductive biology on invasive species

PhD student Katrin Fitza: The diversity and specificity in the Deladenus-Sirex-Amylostereum complex

PhD student Osmond Mlonyeni: Genotypic and phenotypic diversity in non-native populations of Sirex-Amylostereum-Deladenus

Dr Marc Bouwer: Potential semiochemicals for Sirex noctilio and Ibalia leucospoides

PhD student Quentin Guignard: Chemical and visual influences on insect behaviour: Opportunities to study applied biology of Sirex noctilio

Dr Brett Hurley: Sirex-Deladenus-Environment interactions: Lessons from tens of thousands of dissection

Prof. Masanobu Tabata: Siricidae and Xiphydriidae woodwasps and their fungal symbionts in Japan

Prof. Natsumi Kanzaki: Introduction to entomophillic nematodes with some remarks on Deladenus nitobei n.sp., a potential biocontrol agent