Dr Peter Whittle

Systems and risk management in agriculture and environment

Peter Whittle

Dr Peter Whittle is a biosecurity scientist with three decades of professional experience in applied research, industry services, regulation and policy. Applications have included biosecurity operations, diagnostic systems, emergency response management and eradication, pest risk analysis, pest management and surveillance design, international collaboration in aid projects. He has been closely involved in developing Australia’s cohesive national biosecurity system. He has worked in government, industry and university, accumulating wide experience in different agricultural industries and the environment in different regions of Australia, North America and Southeast Asia, and has completed numerous consulting and R&D projects.

He earned his BAgSc and PhD in plant pathology and plant breeding, working on cereal root diseases in South Australia. Moving to Queensland he worked at BSES Ltd on sugarcane pathology and breeding and taking responsibility for quarantine services. He continued this quarantine theme on joining Biosecurity Queensland, where he managed banana biosecurity and the Northwatch project, then became Principal Scientist for plant biosecurity. He worked on his MBA in this time, with a keen interest in systems design and risk management. He had the opportunity to return to project work, at QUT (Associate Professor), where he developed a new methodology for surveillance system design for the Gorgon natural gas project on Barrow Island, enabling this giant infrastructure project to receive development approval and receiving two important team awards. He has consulted on biosecurity to the grains industry, and currently is developing global commodity trade opportunities through modelling pest risk management systems. He has a private consulting portfolio and is interested in challenging projects developing agricultural and environmental sustainability in Australia and overseas.

Anthony C Postle (BSc., MSc. Entomology Ph.D. Entomology)

Tony Postle

Tony has had varied career – scientific and otherwise – working as postman, labourer, warehouse attendant, cleaner, nightwatchman and Sydney taxi driver. In between these jobs he has worked at the University of Queensland as a demonstrator in insect taxonomy and morphology and at the Alan Fletcher laboratories in Brisbane on biological control of weeds as well as at various other institutions in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.

He has studied the taxonomy of Culicoides spp, ants, termites, fruit flies, thrips and flower bugs. Tony has served as a research assistant at Curtin University where he compared invertebrate canopy fauna of jarrah and ironbark trees in Western Australia and New South Wales and as a consultant to various mining companies throughout Western Australia, using insects, especially ants, as indicators of progress of mine-site rehabilitation.

Tony worked for almost 20 years as quarantine entomologist, firstly with the WA Department of Agriculture, then with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service in Perth, Broome and Cairns. In such capacity, he monitored populations of biting midges, fruit flies and blow flies and undertook field surveys to seek possible incursions of exotic termites in remote localities of northern Australia and Torres Strait. He is a member of the Australian Entomological Society and Queensland Entomological Society.

Brian E Heterick (B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D. (Entomology), B.A. (Hons), Dip. Theol.)

Brian Heterick

Brian has worked for 18 years as a specialist ant taxonomist and has published one book, three monographs, around twenty other articles in refereed journals, a major collaborative consultancy report (with Jonathan Majer) and several posters. He is internationally known for his taxonomic studies on the ant genera Iridomyrmex and Monomorium, and has named over 100 ant species from Australia and Madagascar. He won an Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) Grant in 2012/13 to study Melophorus ants (on which he is still working) and has also been successful in obtaining two post-doctoral fellowships, including a Schlinger Fellowship that enabled him to study for two years (2003/4) at the California Academy of Sciences.

As a student at Curtin University he also won two undergraduate awards based on high academic achievement. As well as taxonomic papers, Brian has published several ecological reports in collaboration with other Curtin staff and students. Outside of research, Brian was a Unit Coordinator for Invertebrate Animals 201 (no longer offered) between 2005 and 2010, and has assisted with lecturing and laboratory demonstration in several other related biology units at Curtin University.

He has also frequently been called on to undertake consultancy work for various companies and government departments using ants as biomonitoring tools. Brian was Secretary of the Western Australian Insect Study Society for three years, having recently relinquished that position to undertake other pursuits. Outside of Curtin University, Brian’s employment has included temporary positions at the Department of Primary Industries (Queensland) and the (then) Western Australian Department of Agriculture, mostly in a curatorial capacity. Other employment from an earlier period includes 11 years as a clerk in the Department of Social Security (several offices), three years in the Commonwealth Department of Immigration, and a stint as academic tutor and as a research assistant in the University of Queensland.

Jean-Paul Orsini (Doct. Evol. Biol., MSc Env. Sci.)

Environmental management, sustainability and complex systems modelling

Jean-Paul has 35 years experience modelling complex systems in agriculture, biology, ecology, tourism and the environment. He has worked as a consultant in the fields of ecosystem restoration, environmental management, environmental impact assessment, climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation, wildlife management and endangered species conservation, natural area tourism. His area of professional endeavour includes the investigation of sustainability and resilience at the interface of natural and human systems.

Jean-Paul has a solid track record working with and delivering measurable outcomes to a wide range of local, state and federal government agencies, universities, industry and non-government organisations, as well as international agencies.

Examples of recent projects include:
• The development of a sustainable tourism model for the Ningaloo Region integrating environmental, economic and social parameters
• The investigation of the resilience of farming systems in the drought-affected Eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia under a range of climate and economic conditions
• The modelling of termite ecology in Western Australian woodlands
• The development of a concept plan for a wildlife sanctuary involving the reintroduction of locally extinct mammal fauna in the Perth Region
• A review of land use planning scenarios in the West Kimberley region.