Environmental physiology of locusts

Three potential research projects: 1) Temperature regulation and acclimation of locusts to high and low temperatures. 2) Reproductive physiology of locusts. 3) Physiological arousal in endemic orthoptera

The Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera) is a serious threat to Australian agriculture whenever the appropriate environmental conditions allow for a rapid increase in the population. Various projects are undertaken each year to understand different aspects of the biology of these animals. Higher degree projects can study either reproduction or fat regulation in the Australian plague locust, to aid in our understanding of the capacity of these animals to build-up numbers so rapidly. The work will involve both whole animal dissections and histological examination. In addition, straight-forward biochemical assays will be used for determining the fat content/reproductive condition in both laboratory and wild-caught specimens.

Arousal and its control in spur-throated locusts (Austracris guttalosa) and yellow-winged grasshopper (Gastrimargus musicus).  Previous work has shown that either whole animals (spur-throated locusts) or salivary glands (yellow-winged grasshoppers) have various states of activity.  We are interested in investigating the potential for neurotransmitters/hormones in regulating the states of arousal in these endemic insects using biochemical and physiological techniques. 

Top-up scholarship and funding are available for a PhD in these areas.


The supervisors are Paul Cooper (RSB) and James Woodman (James.Woodman@agriculture.gov.au) of the Australian Plague Locust Commission. To express your interest or for more information please contact us.