Dr Rolf Oberprieler: weevil specialist.
Dr Rolf Oberprieler: uncovering the wonderful world of weevils
Dr Rolf Oberprieler studies the diversity of Australian weevils and the phylogenetic and evolutionary patterns of this environmentally and agriculturally important group of beetles.
11 April 2006 | Updated 7 May 2013
Dr Rolf Oberprieler’s research focus is the systematic study of the large and diverse Australian weevil fauna and the application of taxonomic and phylogenetic knowledge of weevils to a variety of environmental and agricultural research.
As incumbent of an endowed research position, the Zimmerman Fellow in Weevil Research, Dr Oberprieler conducts research in the Australian and Pacific weevils':
This research position is associated with the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) and is underpinned by the Zimmerman Weevil Research Laboratory, Canberra, ACT, a facility housing Australia's largest collection of weevils and taxonomic weevil literature.
Dr Oberprieler continues the late Dr Elwood Zimmerman’s monographic series Australian Weevils, of which five volumes have been published and another three are in preparation. He is currently completing Volume VI, which covers the large group of entimine (broad-nosed) weevils.
The association of weevils with plants, especially primitive cycads, has been a long-standing research interest of Dr Oberprieler.
He studied the systematics and evolution of weevils involved in the pollinations of cycads in Africa and South-East Asia and continues this work on the Australian cycad weevils. It covers taxonomic and phylogenetic aspects and also host odour detection and its role in cycad pollination biology.
Dr Oberprieler has established that weevil pollination in cycads is not an ancient phenomenon but that it evolved more recently and several times independently in different parts of the world.
Dr Rolf Oberprieler identifies weevils for applied research projects all over Australia.
Dr Oberprieler also identifies weevils for applied research projects all over Australia and undertakes some research on bombycoid moths.
He currently supervises a PhD student in this field.
Dr Oberprieler joined CSIRO Entomology in August 1997 as the first Zimmerman Fellow.
Prior to this, Dr Oberprieler worked on weevil systematics and biology at the National Collection of Insects, Plant Protection Research Institute, Pretoria, South Africa.
He has also worked on systematic research on bombycoid moths, and has published a book and several research papers on African emperor moths and their classification.
Dr Oberprieler holds a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours and a Master of Science (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Among Dr Oberprieler's recent contributions to applied research are:
studies of weevils used in the biological control of invasive Australian acacias in South Africa
non-target host use of lucerne weevil parasitoids
a biodiversity survey of the Pilbara region in Western Australia.
Dr Oberprieler also conducts research into the phylogeny and higher classification of weevils, in collaboration with colleagues in Europe, Canada and Argentina. This work aims specifically at contributing knowledge about the unique Australian weevil fauna to international efforts at reconstructing the evolution of this, the largest group of plant-feeding beetles in the world.
At the 12th International Congress of Entomology held in 2004, Dr Oberprieler co-convened a symposium on the Evolutionary History of the Phytophaga to advance this cooperative research.
Find out more about the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC).