Dr Rieks Van Klinken

Group Leader, Biosecurity Flagship

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I am a systems thinker and ecologist working to solve national biosecurity challenges. I lead the Northern Invasive Species and Ecology and Management Group within CSIRO Health and biosecurity, based out of Brisbane but with staff in Townsville and Darwin. We work on the ecology and management of invasive species including feral animals (pigs and buffalo), invasive plants and pest insects (especially fruit flies). A personal passion is mesquite (Prosopis), a thorny weed from the Americas that now forms impenetrable thorn-forests in hot, arid regions of the world. We complement our empirical work with predictive spatial modelling to help policy makers and managers work out how, where and when to invest their resources.

I also lead national, multi-disciplinary, multi-agency research aimed at improving market access for Australian agricultural industries. This includes building international linkages such as with relevant researchers in China, New Zealand and the USA.

I continue my interest in development work, including to support biosecurity R&D in Bhutan following my year there as volunteer plant protection advisor in 2016-7.


Current research interests include:
* regional to national scale prediction of plant and feral animal invasions, and their responses to climate change, land use change and alternative management practices. This includes using Bayesian Belief Networks, GIS and field validation.
* spatially and temporally quantifying the impacts of invasive organisms, and predicting which species will become high impact and where
* developing a user-friendly web-interface to model natural aerial dispersal (TAPPAS)
* understanding invasion mechanisms, including the role of genetic and phenotypic adaptation
* biological control, including improving target and agent selection, host specificity testing and post-release evaluation
* combining classical approaches and metagenomics to understand the dieback phenomenon affecting several of Australia’s most serious weeds
* understanding and addressing social conflict involving commercially important but invasive species.


We have publications by Dr Rieks Van Klinken