Samuel Brown

Scientist, Mt Albert

My current mission is to help ensure New Zealand fruit exports continue in the event that any of the top four fruit fly pests arrives in the country. These are the Queensland, Mediterranean and oriental fruit flies, and the melon fly. We have managed to eradicate previous fruit fly incursions; but any incursion causes immediate concern to our export markets. They impose controls, such as not taking fruit from infected areas.

Fruit flies can’t survive extended periods of cold temperatures, which is convenient as most of our exported produce is chilled during storage and transport. My research aims to prove that these cold treatments will effectively kill any fruit fly larvae that may be in the fruit, as the first part of the process in gaining approval from our export markets. I’m working in overseas laboratories to conduct this research, where I can take advantage of their large captive colonies of fruit flies, as well as my collaborators’ experience and knowledge of fruit fly biology.

I joined the Applied Entomology group in September, after having completed my PhD in weevil taxonomy with the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University. There are around 1500 weevil species in New Zealand, most of which are endemic. I am also interested in the weevil fauna of the South Pacific, and discovered over 30 new species during recent field work in the Cook Islands. Part of my role will be to help Pacific Island nations with phytosanitary solutions for their export commodities, so happily, my work on weevils will support that.

I’m delighted to join the highly accomplished Integrated Postharvest Pest Management (IPPM) team where my research will provide practical support to New Zealand's horticultural industry, and where I can promote knowledge and understanding of insect diversity to a keen audience.

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