David Gopurenko

Research interests

  • DNA barcoding for species identifications
  • Molecular systematics
  • Phylogeography, biogeography and population genetics


David Gopurenko manages a DNA barcoding facility and uses molecular systematics to study economically important arthropods, pathogens and weeds. His facility provides a priority genetic research and diagnostic service to NSW DPI for pest species identification and discovery.  He received his PHD in Australia and conducted Post-Doctoral studies in the USA.  David joined NSW DPI in 2007.


  • BSc Australian Environmental Science (Griffith University, Australia)
  • PhD (Griffith University, Australia)

Current projects

  • Integrative taxonomic assessment of Australasian biting midges (Ceratopogonidae: Culicoides)
  • DNA barcoding & NGS for identification of invasive and native grasses in NSW
  • DNA barcode identification of pest Hemiptera and bacterial pathogens they vector
  • NGS / DNA barcoding for arthropod biodiversity analysis
  • DNA barcode identifications of misc. arthropod pests including beetles, mites, moths and thrips
  • Population genetic analyses of silverleaf nightshade and other invasive weeds in Australia

Current research

Dr. Gopurenko is involved with ongoing collaborative research to identify and catalogue the species diversity of the Australasian biting midge fauna (Culicoides spp.), a genus containing many species that vector livestock affecting arboviruses.

He also investigate associations between sap feeding insects (Hemiptera), host plants, and host affecting pathogens vectored by the insects; other projects investigate cryptic diversity of beneficial parasitoids, other arthropods of ecological interest, and crop affecting phytoplasma bacteria.

Dr. Gopurenko also has a strong research focus on species composition and population genetics of invasive weeds in Australia. In all his projects, Dr. Gopurenko collaborates with specialist taxonomists and ecologists using an integrative taxonomic approach to identify and describe species using both molecular and traditional morphological analyses.

Recent publications

Gopurenko D, Mitchell A & Bellis G (2017) Range expansion of Culicoides brevitarsis (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Australasia: mitochondrial DNA evidence of multiple expansion pathways (in revision).

Zhu X, Skoneczny S, Gopurenko D, Meyer L, Lepschi BJ, Weston PA, Callaway RM, Gurr GM, Weston LA (2017) Ecology and genetics affect relative invasion success of two Echium species in Southern Australia.  Scientific Reports 7, 42792; DOI: 10.1038/srep42792

Li J-H, Gopurenko D, Cai D-C, Yang Y-M, Rong H, Thepparat A, Wardhana AH, Kim H-C, Klein TA, Kim M-S & Bellis GA (2017) Culicoides Latreille biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) of the Dongzhaigang mangrove forest, Hainan Province, China. Zootaxa 4227(1): 049–060;

Shaik RS, Burrows GE, Urwin NAR, Gopurenko D, Lepschi BJ & Weston LA (2017) The biology and management of prickly paddy melon (Cucumis myriocarpus L.), an important summer annual weed in Australia. Crop Protection 92, 29-40, ISSN 0261-2194,

Gopurenko D, Fletcher MJ, Liu J & Gurr GM (2016) Expanding and exploring the diversity of phytoplasmas from lucerne (Medicago sativa). Scientific Reports 6, 37746; doi: 10.1038/srep37746

Shaik RS, Lepschi BJ., Gopurenko D, Urwin NAR, Burrows GE & Weston LA (2016) An integrative morphological and molecular approach to identification of three Australian cucurbitaceous invasive weeds: Citrullus colocynthis, C. lanatus and Cucumis myriocarpus. Australian Systematic Botany 29, 247-264.

Harrup LE, Laban S, Purse BV, Reddy YK, Reddy YN, Byregowda SM, Kumar N, Purushotham KM, Kowalli S, Prasad M, Prasad G, Bettis AA, De Keyser R, Logan J, Garros C, Gopurenko D, Bellis G, Labuschagne K, Mathieu B & Carpenter S (2016) DNA barcoding and surveillance sampling strategies for Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in southern India. Parasites & Vectors 9 (461), DOI 10.1186/s13071-016-1722-z

Fletcher MJ, Löcker H, Mitchell A, Gopurenko D (2016) A revision of the genus Orosius Distant (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Deltocephalinae) based on male genitalia and DNA barcoding. Austral Entomology, doi: 10.1111/aen.12224.

Mitchell A, Gopurenko D (2016) DNA Barcoding the Heliothinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) of Australia and Utility of DNA Barcodes for Pest Identification in Helicoverpa and Relatives. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0160895. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160895

Zhu X, Gopurenko D, Skoneczny D, Lepschi BJ, Spencer MA, Gurr GM, Callaway RM, Serrano M, Weston LA (2016) Introduction of Paterson’s curse (Echium plantagineum) to Australia - unravelling the story by DNA Sequence analysis. Proceedings of the Twentieth Australasian Weeds Conference, 11-15 September 2016, Perth Western Australia, eds Randall R, Lloyd S, Borgner C (Weeds Society of Western Australia), pp 157-161. ISBN 978-0-646-96031-9

Wang A, Wu H, Gopurenko D (2016) Chloroplast genome of the serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma): Structure and evolution. Proceedings of the Twentieth Australasian Weeds Conference,  11-15 September 2016, Perth Western Australia, eds Randall R, Lloyd S, Borgner C (Weeds Society of Western Australia),  pp 152-156. ISBN 978-0-646-96031-9

Nicholas AH, Puterka G, Gopurenko D (2015) National Diagnostic Protocol for Duiraphis noxia – NDP28 V1. Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostics. (Eds. Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostics) Reviewer Brumley, C. ISBN 978-0-9945112-5-6.

Gopurenko D, Bellis GA, Yanase T, Warhana AH, Thepparat A, Wang J-L, Li H-C & Mitchell A. (2015) Integrative taxonomy to investigate species boundaries within Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae): a case study using subgenus Avaritia from Australasia and eastern Asia. Veterinaria Italiana, 51 (4), 345-378. doi: 10.12834/VetIt.515.2463.2

Gurr GM, Bertaccini A, Gopurenko D, Krueger RR, Alhudaib KA, Liu J & Fletcher MJ (2015) Phytoplasmas and Their Insect Vectors: Implications for Date Palm. In: Sustainable Pest Management in Date Palm: Current Status and Emerging Challenges. (eds. W. Wakil, J. Romeno Faleiro, T.A. Miller), Springer International Publishing,  pp. 287-315; ISBN 978-3-319-24395-5;  DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24397-9.

Onyango MG, Beebe NW,  Gopurenko D, Bellis G, Nicholas A, Ogugo M, Djikeng A, Kemp S, Walker PJ &  Duchemin J-B (2015) Assessment of population genetic structure in the arbovirus vector midge, Culicoides brevitarsis (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), using multi-locus DNA microsatellites. Veterinary Research, 46(108) doi:10.1186/s13567-015-0250-8

Kim HC, Bellis GA, Kim MS, Klein TA, Gopurenko D, Cai DC, Seo HJ, Cho IN & Park JY (2015) Species Diversity and seasonal distribution of Culicoides spp. (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Jeju-do, Republic of Korea. The Korean Journal of Parasitology, 53(4):501-506.

Shaik R.S., Gopurenko D., Urwin N.A.R., Burrows G.E., Lepsch B.J. and Weston L.A. (2015). Population genetics of invasive Citrullus lanatusCitrullus colocynthis and Cucumis myriocarpus (Cucurbitaceae) in Australia: inferences based on chloroplast and nuclear gene sequencing. Biological Invasions, 17(8): 2475–2490.

Bellis G, Gopurenko D, Cookson B, Postle A, Halling L, Harris N, Yanase T & Mitchell A (2015) Identification of incursions of Culicoides Latreille species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Australasia using morphological techniques and DNA barcoding. Austral Entomology, 54: 332–338.

Gopurenko D, Wang A, Zhu X, Lepschi BJ & Wu H (2014) Origins and diversity of exotic silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav.) present in Australia as determined by sequence analysis of a chloroplast DNA intergenic spacer region. In: Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference – Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge, 1–4 September, Hobart, Tasmania, ed. M. Baker. (Tasmanian Weed Society, Hobart). pp 391-395. ISBN 978-0-646-92454-0

Zhu X, Meyer L, Gopurenko D, Weston PA, Gurr GM, Callaway RM, Lepschi BJ & Weston LA (2014) Selecting DNA barcoding regions for Identification and genetic analysis of Paterson's curse (Echium plantagineum) and Viper's bugloss (E. vulgare). In: Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference – Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge, 1–4 September, Hobart, Tasmania, ed. M. Baker. (Tasmanian Weed Society, Hobart). pp 396-400. ISBN 978-0-646-92454-0

Wang A, Gopurenko D, Wu H, Stanton R & Lepschi BJ (2014) DNA barcoding for identification of exotic grass species present in eastern Australia. In: Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference – Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge, 1–4 September, Hobart, Tasmania, ed. M. Baker. (Tasmanian Weed Society, Hobart). pp 444-447. ISBN 978-0-646-92454-0

Alpen K, Gopurenko D, Wu H, Lepschi BJ & Weston LA. (2014) The development of a DNA barcode system for species identification of Conyza spp.In: Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference – Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge, 1–4 September, Hobart, Tasmania, ed. M. Baker. (Tasmanian Weed Society, Hobart). pp 401-404. ISBN 978-0-646-92454-0

Gopurenko D. (2014) DNA barcoding for species identifications: applications to research of Culicoides and other arthropods. In: International Training Programme on Bluetongue vector identification (Meeting manual) 1st to 5th July, 2013. (The Pirbright Institute, UK; India Bluetongue Vector Network; Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Chennai, India. (eds, S. Carpenter, D.K.Y. Reddy), pp 18-32.

Bellis GA, Dyce AL, Gopurenko D, Yanase T, Yanase T, Garros C, Labuschagne K  & Mitchell A. (2014). Revision of the Culicoides (Avaritia) Imicola complex Khamala & Kettle (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from the Australasian region. Zootaxa 3768(4): 401–427.

Gopurenko D, Fletcher MJ, Löcker H & Mitchell A. (2013) Morphological and DNA barcode species identifications of leafhoppers, planthoppers and treehoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha) at Barrow Island. In: Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 83: The Terrestrial Invertebrate Fauna of Barrow Island (eds, N.R. Gunawardene, J.D. Majer, C.K. Taylor & M.K.S. Harvey), pp. 253–285. Western Australian Museum Publications, Perth.

Bellis G, Kim HC, Kim MS, Klein TA, Lee DK & Gopurenko D. (2013) Three species of Culicoides Latreille (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) newly recorded from the Republic of Korea. Zootaxa 3718(2): 171–182.

Bellis GA, Dyce AL, Gopurenko D & Mitchell A. (2013). Revision of the Immaculatus group of Culicoides Latreille (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from the Australasian biogeographic region with description of two new species. Zootaxa 3680 (1): 015–037.

Shaik RS, Gopurenko D, Burrows GE, Urwin NAR, Lepschi BJ, Hildebrand, SM & Weston LA (2012) Identification of the invasive weeds, camel melon, prickly paddy melon and colocynth in Australia - a morphological and molecular approach. In: Developing solutions to evolving weed problems. 18th Australasian Weeds Conference, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8-11 October 2012, Weed Science Society of Victoria Inc., Frankston, Australia, pp 73–77.

Shaik RS, Weston LA, Burrows G & Gopurenko D (2011) A comparative phenological and genetic diversity analysis of two invasive weeds, camel melon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. and Nakai var. lanatus) and prickly paddy melon (Cucumis myriocarpus L.), in inland Australia. In: Proceedings of the 23rd Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society Conference, Cairns, 26-29 September 2011. pp.510-518

Cooper JD, Waser PM, Gopurenko D, Hellgren EC, Gabor TM & DeWoody JA (2010) Measuring sex-biased dispersal in social mammals: comparisons of nuclear and mitochondrial genes in collared peccaries. Journal of Mammalogy 91: 1413-1424.

deWaard JR, Mitchell A, Keena MA, Gopurenko D, Boykin LM, Armstrong KF, Pogue MG, Lima J, Floyd R, Hanner RH & Humble LM (2010) Towards a Global Barcode Library for Lymantria (Lepidoptera: Lymantriinae) Tussock Moths of Biosecurity Concern. PLoS One 5: e14280.

Cooper JD, Vitalis R, Waser PM, Gopurenko D, Hellgren EC, Gabor TM & DeWoody JA (2010) Quantifying male-biased dispersal among social groups in the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) using analyses based on mtDNA variation. Heredity.104:79-87.

Fields of research

  • 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics
  • 060409 Molecular Evolution
  • 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography
  • 060309 Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis
  • 060301 Animal Systematics and Taxonomy
  • 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • DNA barcoding & Biosecurity
  • Molecular Systematics
  • Phylogeography & Population Genetics
  • Pest Insects & Weeds

Contact details

Location: Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute