Enhancing market access for New Zealand logs and improving the knowledge on the efficacy of phosphine
New Zealand’s forest industries rely heavily on the export of whole logs, particularly to China (70% of trade), which requires quarantine fumigation to eliminate insect pests found in association with log exports. The in-transit use of phosphine in ship holds at a minimum concentration of 200 ppm for 10 days is one treatment approach currently approved for log exports to China. However, there are still gaps in knowledge on the efficacy of phosphine when used on export logs. Plant & Food Research is conducting research to better understand the efficacy of phosphine and to optimize the in-transit conditions under which such fumigation is carried out.
The PhD student will work with other fumigation scientists to elucidate some underlying factors, not yet understood, behind the efficacy of phosphine against insects associated with logs, including (1) interactions between log and insect respiration, (2) interactions between phosphine dose and fumigation duration and (3) fumigant characteristics affecting phosphine penetration into logs.
The student will be enrolled at the University of Auckland and will be supervised by Dr. Jacqueline Beggs, from the School of Biological Sciences. Dr. Beggs, an Associate Professor in Ecology and Entomology, has a vast experience on biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation issues and a strong publication record. The project will be co-supervised by scientists in Plant & Food Research’s Disinfestation team in Palmerston North Dr Adriana Najar-Rodriguez, an entomologist with international experience on insect behavior, physiology and control and Dr Matthew Hall, a leading expert in fumigation research and chemical qualitative and quantitative analysis.
The three year studentship offers an annual stipend of 27,000 NZD per annum and covers university fees and operating costs. It is important that candidates be able to fulfil the requirements for initial and continued enrolment in a PhD programme at the University of Auckland. While based in Palmerston North the student will need to visit the University of Auckland periodically.
For registration details and to apply for this position please visit https://careers.sciencenewzealand.org/plant-and-food-research/plant-and-food-research-jobs
Please search for vacancy number 11939