Dr Darren Kriticos is researching the impacts of climate change on pest species.
Dr Darren Kriticos: modelling the future of pests in Australia
Dr Darren Kriticos is investigating the impact that climate change will have on established pest species, as well as identifying species that may become invasive in our changing climate.
18 May 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011
Dr Darren Kriticos is undertaking research on climate change impacts on pests, diseases and weeds, as well as regional biosecurity threats.
He is responsible for research on insect pest interactions, and biological control of environmental weeds using insects.
Dr Kriticos uses computer models to explore how insects and plants may respond to climate change, and the impacts on other plant and animal species that this may have.
He uses the understanding gained from these models to explore opportunities to adapt management systems to cope with future challenges.
His current and recent activities include:
- assessing the impacts of climate change on pest distribution and abundance, aiming to identify promising management strategies
- weeds in South Australia
- pest, weeds and diseases threats to New Zealand, including
- Buddleja davidii and Scotch broom
- red band needle blight and pitch canker disease
- key global pests, such as:
- guava rust, Puccinia psidii
- pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa
- oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis
- Mycospharella leaf disease
- using climate-based niche models to estimate gross economic impacts from invasive species
- understanding the effect of changing climate data precision on estimates of pest risk
- developing predictive spread models for weeds to inform strategic management plans
- developing a fine-scale moth dispersal model to inform border biosecurity responses
- developing a best practice manual for pest risk modelling and mapping
- developing and testing a goodness-of-fit metric suitable for use with pest risk models
- understanding the impacts of climate change on a tri-trophic (wheat-aphid-virus) system
- modifying DYMEX modelling software to enable spatially-explicit population dynamics models to be developed
- assessing the opportunity for adapting the biosecurity system for grains in Australia to emerging challenges under future climates
- modelling the changing geographic pattern of biosecurity threats under a warming climate.
Prior to joining CSIRO Dr Kriticos worked as a researcher for the Queensland Government, Australia.
Dr Kriticos is modelling potential biosecurity threats from invasive species as a response to climate change.
In 1993 he joined the Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management Systems and CSIRO Entomology as a Postdoctoral fellow before his appointment as a Research Scientist with CSIRO Entomology.
In 2003, Dr Kriticos moved to New Zealand to join Forest Research (later Ensis) as a Senior Researcher. During this period he led research programs on the management of several insect pests, weeds and diseases.
Dr Kriticos led the Forest Biosecurity and Protection group at Ensis, and subsequently CSIRO Forest Biosciences.
In 2006, Dr Kriticos moved back to CSIRO Entomology to pursue biosecurity and climate change impacts and adaptation research.
He now leads the Bioeconomics and Risk Team within the Invasion Biology and Functional Ecology Research Program.
His present interests include the enhancement of ecological modelling methods for assessing and managing biological invasion risks under current and future climates.
Dr Kriticos completed a Bachelor of Science in Australian Environmental Studies from Griffith University, Queensland, in 1987, followed by a Master of Environmental Studies from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, in 1991.
In 2001, he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Queensland. His thesis was titled Climate change and exotic woody weeds.
Dr Kriticos has been awarded a number of scholarships over his career, including:
- Queensland Weed Science Society Postgraduate Travel Award, 1999
- Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation PhD Scholarship, 1996
- University of Adelaide Scholarship, 1990.
In 2001 Dr Kriticos was awarded the Queensland Weed Science Society Postgraduate Project Award. He was also the recipient of two National Heritage Trust awards in 2001, for Regional Best Practice Management for Serrated Tussock and Regional Best Practice Management for Chilean Needle Grass.
In New Zealand, Dr Kriticos led a large multi-faceted research program to deliver sustainable management solutions for the gum leaf skeletoniser.
He also co-authored the bid to establish the Better Border Biosecurity research collaboration, and served on the Science Management Committee before relinquishing this responsibility in order to return to Australia.
Learn more about CSIRO's research on Climate Change.