Olivia Reynolds

Research interests

  • Area Wide Management
  • Sterile insect technique – enhancing fitness and performance of flies
  • Ecology and management of fruit fly
  • Parasitoids
  • Silicon based insect-plant bi- and tri- trophic interactions


Dr Olivia Reynolds, Senior Research Scientist, is an ecologist based at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and heads up a team including professional officers, technical staff and postgraduate students. Olivia is currently researching a model area-wide integrated pest management (AWIPM) system incorporating the sterile insect technique (SIT), to inform the roll-out of future similar campaigns. Olivia is also developing novel techniques to improve sterile Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni Froggatt quality (i.e. pre-release supplementation) including semiochemical-mediated enhancement of sterile flies and the development of probiotics to increase sterile fly fitness and performance. Further, Olivia is working on techniques that are complementary to SIT.

Olivia has a PhD from the University of New England and represents DPI on the SITPlus Technical Committee, Domestic Quarantine and Market Access Working Group, and is a founding member of the Australian Bioprotection Initiative. 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 biological control, including sterile insect technique and parasitoids and silicon and plant defence, including the international journals, Annals of Applied Biology, Bulletin of Entomological Research and Environmental and Experimental Botany. Olivia is an adjunct Senior Lecturer 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’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, induced plant defence and area-wide management. Olivia’s group typically conduct olfactometer bioassays, and conduct ecological and behavioural laboratory, field cage and field-based studies, including mating and host preference studies and potted plant defence trials. Collaborations with several institutions including University of Western Sydney and University of Technology Sydney, also involve complementary molecular and proteomic based studies. 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.

Olivia’s current works include a flagship Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) Ltd project ‘Area wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) of the Queensland fruit fly incorporating the sterile insect technique (SIT)’. The main objective of the study is to establish an effective AW-IPM SIT program to provide control of Qfly in an endemic area and that will inform the development of similar future campaigns. The project is also investigating improvements to the larval Qfly diet, including alternate bulking agents and investigating the gut microbiota of Qfly larvae, with the goal of developing a larval probiotic. Another component is developing a molecular mating diagnostic to determine whether female flies have been mated by a sterile or fertile fly. Ultimately, this ‘proof of concept’ study, following a prteomic approach, aims to develop a full diagnostic, permitting rapid assessment (compared to the traditional tedious & lengthy process of looking at egg fertility) of the success of a sterile insect release program, which is reliably assessed via the fertility of wild females.


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

Current projects

  • Area Wide Integrated Pest Management incorporating the Sterile Insect Technique to control the Queensland fruit fly (Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA))
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Improved population management system for Queensland fruit fly (HIA), Plant & Food, NZ lead

Current postgraduate and postdoctoral projects

  • 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)
  • Biology, behavior and population structure of the fruit fly parasitoid, Fopius arisanus (Charles Sturt University International Postgraduate Research Scholarship - PhD)
  • Floral nectar preferences of tephritid fruit fly parasitoids (Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University Scholarship - Masters)

Recent Publications

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 fly. Physiological 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

  • Senior Research Scientist, Industry & Investment NSW (Primary Industries), AUSTRALIA.
  • Senior Adjunct Lecturer, Charles Sturt University, AUSTRALIA.
  • Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation member, AUSTRALIA
  • Jinshan Scholar, Fujian Agriculture & Forestry University, Fuzhou, CHINA
  • 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

  • Fruit fly behavior and ecology
  • Parasitoids
  • Area Wide Management
  • Silicon
  • Insect-plant interactions

Contact details