Dr. Graham Stirling was raised on a wheat and sheep farm on Kangaroo Island, Australia. He completed his B.Sc. (Honors) and M.S. degrees at the University of Adelaide, where John Fisher introduced him to the fascinating world of nematodes. Graham began his professional career as a Nematologist with the South Australian Department of Agriculture at Loxton in 1970 where he worked with Meloidogyne spp. on grapevine. Graham was awarded a CSIRO Post-Graduate Studentship in 1975, which allowed him to move to the University of California, Riverside. There he began a lifelong interest in biological control of nematodes, working with Ron Mankau. Graham discovered a new parasite of root-knot nematode eggs (Dactylella oviparasitica) and demonstrated the importance of biological control in suppression of nematode populations in some Californian peach orchards. He was awarded his Ph.D for that work in 1978.
After returning to Australia, Stirling worked on Pasteuria penetrans, an obligate parasite of root-knot nematode. He developed an in vivo culture technique that soon became the standard method of mass producing the bacterium for research purposes, and in a landmark paper published in Phytopathology in 1984, showed that inundative application of Pastueria provided excellent control of root-knot nematode.
In 1983 Graham joined the Queensland Department of Primary Industries. He found that the causal agent of reduced yields in rice was a new species of needle nematode (Paralongidorus australis) that occurred naturally in wet environments in north Queensland. During his time in QDPI, Graham made a major effort to change the nematode management practices used in Queensland’s horticultural industries. He saw nematicides as a tool of last resort and tried hard to convince growers that the principles of integrated pest management could be applied to nematodes. He encouraged the use of forage sorghum as a rotation crop in the vegetable industry, demonstrated the value of organic amendments in the ginger industry and showed that nematode populations on many pineapple farms were not high enough to warrant nematicide treatment.
In 2008, Dr. Graham Stirling was named Fellow of the Society of Nematologists.
Source: Nematology Newsletter 54(2):5 and others.
Go to Nemaplex Home Page