Dr Hazel Parry

Dr Parry works in the Spatial Ecology team at CSIRO.

Dr Hazel Parry: modelling insect pest population dynamics and dispersal

Dr Hazel Parry works in the Spatial Ecology team developing novel simulations of pest and beneficial insect population dynamics and movement.

  • 18 November 2010 | Updated 13 February 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Hazel Parry is an ecological modeller working in the Spatial Ecology Team at CSIRO. 

The work of the team focuses on the concept of Pest Suppressive Landscapes and seeks to address the broad question: why does landscape context matter for the control of pests and diseases?

By combining a field-based, ecological approach with spatially-explicit simulation models, Dr Parry’s research aims to gain knowledge that will help address the global challenges of food security and health crises at the landscape scale, such as increasing agricultural productivity whilst minimising our impact on the natural resource base.

This includes identifying important landscape features and environmental drivers for pest and disease vector suppression, identifying outbreak risk in relation to population dynamics and dispersal behaviours and considering the spatial scale of management that may prove most effective.

To this end, she has spent the past couple of years collaborating on a national Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) project entitled Pest Suppressive Landscapes.

The project is working towards:

  • identifying how landscape features and habitat structure influences the dynamics of pest and natural enemy populations in crops
  • investigating whether crop and non-crop habitat act as sources or sinks for pests and natural enemies
  • understanding how the spatial arrangement of sources and sink habitats of pests and natural enemies affects the ecosystem service of pest control.

Currently, Dr Parry is continuing to expand her work on Pest Suppressive Landscapes in two key areas:

  1. Development of an individual-based simulation model of Hendra virus in Flying-fox (bat) populations of Australia (part of a national monitoring project led by Dr David Westcott, collaborating with ICT).  This will help improve understanding of:
    • Where is the virus concentrated in the bat population:
      • Who: which individual bats (e.g. stressed, young)?
      • When is the highest virus load during the year?
    • How does it spread with bat movement and dispersal?
      • What does this mean for spill-over risk to horses?
      • Bat landscape use
      • Bat virus shedding
  2. Development of movement simulation models of Helicoverpa spp. to improve our understanding of pest landscape use and resistance management (a Cotton Research Development Corporation project led by Dr Nancy Schellhorn, collaborating with Professor Myron Zalucki, University of Queensland and Professor Tony Ives, University of Wisconsin).


Dr Parry left her home country of England and joined CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences (formerly CSIRO Entomology) as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in August 2009, working on a Cooperative Research Council for National Plant Biosecurity (CRCNPB) project.

The project constructed a modelling framework for understanding the impacts of climate change on biosecurity incursions of cropping systems. 

The project focused on the case study of the population dynamics of the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi in agricultural landscapes of Australia.

The spatially-explicit aphid-wheat-CYDV model demonstrates a novel integration of:

  • a coupled spatial population dynamics model of host-disease-vector
  • airborne pest dispersal simulation
  • climate change scenarios to estimate future risk from existing pest species in the Australian agricultural environment.

Prior to joining CSIRO, Dr Parry was a research scientist (Ecological Modeller) for three years at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), York, United Kingdom (UK).

At Fera Dr Parry undertook and project managed a range of modelling research projects, spanning individual-based modelling, computer simulation of crop pest population dynamics and dispersal, ecological uptake of heavy metals from contaminated land, grid computing, geographical information systems, environmentally sensitive farming and predicting the implications of policy and environmental change for agricultural landscapes.

Whilst writing her doctoral thesis in 2006, Dr Parry was employed on a casual basis to conduct industrial research for the Regional Development Agency into Biofuels.

She carried out a spatial and economic analysis to project the implications for the industry of imported Biofuels in Yorkshire and Humberside between 2006-10.

Academic qualifications

Dr Parry completed her Doctorate at the University of Leeds, UK, in late 2006, entitled ‘Effects of Land Management upon Species Population Dynamics: A Spatially Explicit, Individual-based Model’.

Dr Parry graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2002, achieving an upper-second class Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Geography. She was awarded first-class for her undergraduate dissertation: Modelling the distribution of Quercus infectoria, a species of Oak tree, in Cyprus.


Dr Parry's achievements include:

  • Co-founder of the Multi-agent Systems and Simulation (MASS) research group, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK 
  • Founder and chair of the NIEeS working group AgriGrid.
  • Commended Paper (Student Award): iEMSs Conference 'Complexity and Integrated Resources Management'. 14-17 June 2004, University of Osnabrück, Germany.

Read more about CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.