NICHOLAS, Adrian

Adrian Nicholas

Research interests

  • Irradiation for post-harvest pest control.
  • Biological control of protected cropping pests
  • Disease vector ecology and management - plants
  • Disease vector ecology and management - livestock

Background

Adrian Nicholas is a Senior Research Entomologist at the Central Coast Primary Industries Centre at Ourimbah where he leads Biosecurity & Food Safety Division’s Insect Pest Detection, Surveillance and Management Technologies Group.  Adrian has a PhD and MSc. from University of Western Sydney having completed his BSc. Environmental Biology and Pollution Ecology at Plymouth University England.

Adrian's principal areas of research are protected cropping (glasshouse) pest management and using irradiation as a technique for the post disinfestation for a broad range of arthropod pests. The most recent research has been to develop generic irradiation dose rates for mite and thrips control. Adrian is trained in the Safe Use of X-Ray Equipment and Industrial Radiation Safety and is recognised as a Radiation Safety Officer across Australia.

Adrian's principal areas of research are protected cropping (glasshouse) pest management and using irradiation as a technique for the post disinfestation for a broad range of arthropod pests. The most recent research has been to develop generic irradiation dose rates for mite and thrips control.

He has published multiple articles on integrated pest management for a range of pests in deciduous fruits, citrus and field crops.

With one foot in Animal Health, Adrian manages the NSW vector component of the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP) with surveillance across four States, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Adrian is a member of the NAMP Technical Committee.

Adrian is researching monitoring strategies and techniques for monitoring the movement of biting midge in the environment and methods of biting midge control.  It is Adrian’s ambition to laboratory colonise Culicoides brevitarsis, the principal vector of blue tongue virus in Australia.  A task that to date has frustrated and eluded numerous entomologists.

Qualifications

  • B. Env. Sci. (Biology) Hons. - Plymouth University, ENGLAND, 1992
  • M. Sci. (Hons) Hort. Entomology - UWS-Hawkesbury, 1996
  • Ph.D. - UWS-Hawkesbury, 2000

Current projects

  • Irradiation Doses for the Insect Pest Disinfestation of Fresh Produce: Irradiation is an established technology that is increasingly being recognised and accepted internationally as a non-toxic, safe to human health and the environment, alternative to post harvest disinfestation techniques based on chemicals.  Adrian is working on disinfestation for a broad range of arthropod pests. Using gamma irradiation (source cobalt 60) the work identified the effective dose rates required to cause death and/or infertility for all the different life stages in several species of mite and thrips. The infertile pest is unable to become established in new areas, pest sensitive Australian States or countries importing Australian fresh produce.
  • Cold atmospheric plasma for the control of insect pests and disinfestation of horticultural produce: Plasma is the fourth state of matter generated by the ionisation of gases and consisting of a gaseous mixture of charged particles, free electrons and ions. Free radicals and ultraviolet photons are known to kill human pathogens and some small insects and has the potential to provide an effective method of disinfestation of fresh produce.

Recent publications

  • Nicholas AH (2010) Whitefringed weevils Naupactus leucoloma (Boheman), (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) damage subsurface drip irrigation tape. Irrigation Science. 28. 353-357
  • Stoddard FL, Nicholas A, Rubiales D and Thomas J (2010) Integrated pest, disease and weed management in faba bean. Field Crop Research. 115. 308-318.
  • Schwinghamer MW, Nicholas AH, Schilg MA (2009) Three aphid vectors of faba bean (Vicia faba) viruses in northern New South Wales and occurrence of Acyrthosiphon pisum-transmitted isolates of Soybean dwarf virus. Australasian Plant Pathology. 38. 262-269.
  • Brier H, Miles M, Murray D, McLennan A, Grundy P, Nicholas A and Wilson L (2008) IPM in Northern Australian Grain Farming Systems: Past, Present and Future Prospects. Australian J. of Experimental Agriculture. 48. 1574-1593

Professional associations and activities

  • Member – Society of Vector Ecology
  • Member - NSW Surveillance Reference Group (Plant Health)

Fields of research

  • 070205 Animal Protection (Pests and Pathogens)
  • 070603 Horticultural Crop Protection (Pests, Disease and Weeds)
  • 070605 Post Harvest Horticultural Technologies (incl. Transportation and Storage)
  • 100202 Biological Control

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Irradiation (radiation) technologies for post-harvest pest management
  • Protected cropping insect pest management
  • Plant virus vector ecology (aphids and thrips)
  • Arbovirus vector ecology (Culicoides and mosquitoes)

Contact details

Email: adrian.nicholas@dpi.nsw.gov.au