Olivia Reynolds

Research interests

  • Silicon based plant defence (bi- and tri- trophic interactions)
  • Landscape ecology/habitat management
  • Area Wide Management
  • Sterile insect technique; particularly improving sterile insect rearing and release techniques including enhancing sterile male performance traits using proteins, semiochemicals and microbial symbiont
  • Ecology, behaviour and management of fruit fly


Dr Olivia Reynolds, Principal Research Scientist, is an applied ecologist based at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and heads up a team including professional officers, technical staff and postdoctoral and postgraduate students. Olivia is an Adjunct Associate Research Professor at Charles Sturt University, a member of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (an alliance between NSWDPI and CSU) and a Jinshan Scholar at the Institute of Applied Ecology, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, China.

Olivia has a PhD from the University of New England and represents DPI on the National Fruit Fly Working Group, and is a founding member of the Australian Bioprotection Initiative. Olivia recently graduated from a 12 month Women & Leadership Australia Advanced Leadership Program with the Macquarie Graduate School of Management; the program aims to assist organisations to increase the capability of their high potential female employees.

Internationally, Olivia is an Australian representative on the International Steering Committee for Fruit Flies of Economic Importance, a co-founder of the International Atomic Energy Agency/Food and Agricultural Organisation Tephritid workers of Asia, Australia and Oceania (TAAO), an Editor on the peer-reviewed journal, Insects and an Editor on the international bulletin, Fruit Fly News. Olivia has published in peer-reviewed journals, proceedings and book chapters, articles on silicon and plant defence, ecology and management of fruit flies and landscape ecology including the international journals, Annals of Applied Biology, PlosOne and Scientific Reports.

Olivia applies ecological knowledge to elucidate pest problems through the development and implementation of sustainable, low environmental impact approaches that are both relevant to the wider research community and embraced by applicable stakeholders, including growers. For example, the development of novel means (e.g. semiochemical, probiotic) by which to enhance fitness and performance of sterile male Queensland fruit fly (Qfly). Olivia’s interests and expertise are in the role played by silicon in insect plant defences; with experience in novel biological control techniques, including the sterile insect technique (SIT), parasitoid ecology and behaviour, silicon and plant defence, area-wide management and landscape ecology/habitat manipulation. Olivia’s group typically conduct insect  bioassays, and ecological and behavioural laboratory, field cage and field-based studies, including mating and host preference studies and plant defence trials.

Collaborations with several institutions including University of New South Wales, University of Western Sydney and University of Technology Sydney, also involve complementary molecular and omic based studies.


  • BSc University of New England (Science Dept.), 1996
  • PhD - University of New England (Rural Science Dept.), accepted without amendment 2003

Current projects

  • Landscape ecology to support beneficial arthropods on vegetable farms (Hort Innovation, Australia)
  • Innovation Center for Ecologically Based Pest Management of Subtropical Crops (‘111’ Program, China)
  • Area wide management incorporating the sterile insect technique for the Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Hort. Innovation Australia)
  • Adaptive area-wide management of Qfly using SIT: Guidelines for efficient and effective pest suppression and stakeholder adoption (Rural Research and Development for Profit, CSIRO lead)
  • Synergistic interaction of sterile insect technique and parasitoids (Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Australia)
  • Understanding microbial communities to improve tephritid pest management (ERASMUS+, EU)
  • Get tough, get toxic and get a bodyguard: using silicon to augment direct and indirect anti-herbivore defences in cereals (Australian Steel Mill Services and University of Western Sydney, Australia)

Current postgraduate and postdoctoral projects

  • How can silicon protect our crops?: elucidating the signalling pathways and defence mechanisms underpinning silicon enhanced resistance to insect herbivores (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
  • Development of a larval probiotic for mass-reared Queensland fruit fly (Horticulture Innovation Australia Research Fellow)
  • Semiochemical-mediated enhancement of sterile male Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae) as part of the Sterile Insect Technique (Endeavour Fellowship and Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation)
  • Development of an adult probiotic for sterile male Queensland fruit flies (Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre - PhD)
  • Floral nectar preferences of diamond back moth and its parasitoids (Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University Scholarship - Masters)

Recent Publications

Coskun D, Deshmukh R, Sonah H, Menzies JG, Reynolds O, Ma JF, Kronzucker HJ and Bélanger RR. 2018. The controversies of silicon’s role in plant biology. Tansley review, New Phytologist.

Deutscher A, Burke CM, Darling AE, Riegler M, Reynolds OL# & Chapman TA#. 2018. Near Full-length 16S rDNA Next-Generation Sequencing Revealed Asaia as a Common Midgut Bacterium of Wild and Domesticated Queensland Fruit Fly Larvae. Microbiome, 6:85. # joint senior authors

Gurr GM, Reynolds OL, Johnson AC, Desneux N, Zalucki MP, Furlong MJ, Li Z, Akutse K, Chen J and You M. 2018. Landscape ecology and expanding range of biocontrol agent taxa enhance prospects for diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) management: A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development.

Frew A, Weston A, Reynolds OL & Gurr GM. 2018. The role of silicon in plant biology: a paradigm shift in research approach. Annals of Botany.

Khan, MAM, Manoukis N, Gurr GM, Osborne T, Barchia I & Reynolds OL. 2017. Raspberry ketone increases survival and reduces sterile male Bactrocera tryoni Froggatt response to cue-lure: implications for sterile insect technique programs. Scientific Reports, 7:13366. doi:10:1038/s41598-017-13843-w

Liu J, Zhang P, Zhu J, Han L, Reynolds OL, Wu J, Shao Y, Zeng R, You M & Gurr G. 2017. First evidence of silicon supplementation altering plant herbivore induced plant volatiles to enhance attraction of parasitoids. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8:1265. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01265.

Reynolds OL, Osborne T & Barchia I. 2017. Efficacy of Chemicals for the Potential Management of the Queensland Fruit Fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Insects, 8 (2). pii: E49. doi: 10.3390/insects8020049.

Deutscher A, Reynolds OL & Chapman T. 2017. Yeast: an Overlooked Component of Bactrocera tryoni (Diptera: Tephritidae) Larval Gut Microbiota. Journal of Economic Entomology, 110: 298-300.

Reynolds OL, Padula M, Zeng RS & Gurr GM. 2016. Silicon: potential to promote direct and indirect effects on plant defence against arthropod pests. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7, article 744.

Reynolds OL, Barchia I, Osborne T & Crisp P. 2016. Specialized Pheromone and Lure Application Technology as an alternative male annihilation technique to manage Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, advance access 1–7 doi: 10.1093/jee/tow023.

Reynolds OL, Finlay A & Osborne T. 2015. Osage orange, Maclura pomifera (Rafinesque.) C.K. Schneid.: a new host record for Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae) and Delia platura (Meigen) (Diptera: Anthomyiidae). General and Applied Entomology, 43, 19-23.

Reynolds OL & Orchard BA. 2015. Roving and stationary release of adult sterile Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera; Tephritidae). Crop Protection, 76, 24-32.

Mo J, Dominiak, BC, Stevens MM & Reynolds OL. 2014. Pest behaviour insights from quarantine surveillance of male Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Crop Protection, 62, 55-63.

Reynolds OL, Orchard BA, Collins, S & Taylor, P. 2014. Yeast hydrolysate supplementation increases sterile Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) field longevity and abundance. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 104, 251-61.

Collins, S, Taylor, P & Reynolds, OL. 2014. Combined effects of dietary yeast supplementation and methoprene treatment on sexual maturation of Queensland fruit fly. Journal of Insect Physiology 61, 51–57.

Taylor, PW, Khan, M, Collins, SR & Reynolds, OL. 2013. Yeast hydrolysate supplement increases starvation vulnerability of Queensland fruit flyPhysiological Entomology,38, 337-343.

Zamek, AL, Reynolds, OL, Mansfield, S, Micallef, JL & Gurr, GM. 2013. Carbohydrate diet and reproductive performance of a fruit fly parasitoid, Diachasmimorpha tryoni. Journal of Insect Science 13:74. Available online:

Simpson, M, Connick, VJ, Guisard, Y, Reynolds, OL, Saliba, A & Gurr, GM (2012) Chapter 9 Chemical ecology providing novel strategies against vineyard pests in Australia. In ‘Arthropod Management in Vineyards’ (Eds. Charles Vincent, Noubar Bostanian and Rufus Isaacs), Springer. pp. 119-138.

James, D, Orre, S, Reynolds, O & Simpson, M. (2012) Employing chemical ecology to understand and exploit biodiversity for pest management. In ‘Biodiversity and insect pests: key issues for sustainable management’ (Eds. Geoff M Gurr, Steve D Wratten & Bill E Snyder) Wiley Blackwell. pp. 185-195.

Professional associations and activities

  • Principal Research Scientist, Industry & Investment NSW (Primary Industries), AUSTRALIA.
  • Adjunct Associate Research Professor, Charles Sturt University, AUSTRALIA.
  • Jinshan Scholar, Fujian Agriculture & Forestry University, Fuzhou, CHINA
  • Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation member, AUSTRALIA
  • International Steering Committee on Fruit Flies of Economic Significance, AUSTRIA
  • Australian Bio-Protection Initiative, AUSTRALIA
  • Fruit Fly Research and Technical Team, AUSTRALIA
  • National Fruit Fly Working Group, AUSTRALIA
  • Editor, Insects
  • Editor, international bulletin, Fruit Fly News

Fields of research

  • 070603 Horticulture Crop Protection (Pests, Diseases and Weeds)

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Silicon and plant defence
  • Landscape ecology
  • Area Wide Management
  • Fruit fly behaviour and ecology
  • Sterile Insect Technique

Contact details