Honours update – Sandie

I have completed two of the three proposed experiments for my honours project so far. I have completed the secondary seed dispersal experiment, looking at how tunneller dung beetle species, Onthophagous binodis, and dweller dung beetle species, Aphodius fimetarius, contribute to the ecosystem service of secondary seed dispersal in Australia by using beads as surrogates Read More…

Msc Update – Bianca

I am now seven months into my MSc., investigating beetle diversity on Acacia host-plants along an environmental gradient. Since the last issue of Myrmecia I have been busy in the lab sorting through the Coleoptera specimens, which were collected over six seasons. Coleoptera from seasons 1-3 will be sorted into morphospecies by the end of Read More…

PhD update – Sue

I started my PhD investigating the interactions between two parasitoid wasps (Encarsia formosa and Eretmocerus warrae) and a predatory Hemiptera (Nesidiocoris tenuis) as natural enemies of greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum). Greenhouse grown tomatoes are an important industry in the New England area. The use of biological control can minimise or eliminate the need for chemical Read More…

PhD update – Zac

My temperature controlled chambers have been completed and are ready for the effects of temperature on dung beetle experiment. They work very well and I have high hopes for them. Currently I’m just waiting for beetle season to commence before beginning the experiment. In meantime I have been sorting through samples from my altitudinal gradient Read More…

PhD update – Isobel

Acacia falcata plants exude a sugary substance from the leaf-like phyllodes that attracts various insects, particularly ants. Two ant species, an Iridomyrmex sp. and a Polyrhachis sp. both commonly harvest this sugary secretion from A. falcata. To locate this resource, ant’s antennal sensilla come in contact with volatiles that come off the secretion when it Read More…

PhD update – Behnaz

I have just finished the final experiments of my PhD project assessing the thermal tolerances of aphids (Myzus persicae). I have investigated the effect of repeated high temperature on many physiological characters such as thermal tolerance, respiration, and osmolytes such as polyols and sugars. Also, with using chemically defined diets, I have been revealing the Read More…

PhD update – Matt Binns

I am about to submit my thesis assessing the response of grassland Thysanoptera to climate. Thysanoptera were collected from Themeda triandra grasslands across a climatic gradient in NSW and Victoria, Australia across four seasons. The R package mvabund was used to determine how different species are associated with different environmental variables, and how environmental variables Read More…

School of Ants update

School of Ants – Kirsti Abbott and Sarah Hill Throughout the year, School of Ants has been engaging with citizens scientists across Australian to conduct a year long ecological project collecting data on the diet of dominant ground foraging ants in backyards, school grounds and adjacent bushland plots. As discussed in a previous lab update Read More…