I am an insect ecologist. I use insects as model organisms to study effects of environmental change on species interactions and communities. Climate and land use change are the most pronounced threats to virtually all species and ecosystems. These affect plant-insect associations at all levels.
My work focuses on identifying relationships between species, functional traits and the environment. It is important to understand ecological communities not only in relation to species composition, but also the functional roles of different species, by studying morphological, chemical and physiological species traits.
Please also have a look at my Google Scholar profile
I currently work in the Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Lab led by Dr. Benoit Guénard at University of Hong Kong. Ants are a vital part of terrestrial ecosystems. They are ubiquitous and sensitive to disturbances. I am investigating the effects of environmental change on ant communities at the micro-climatic scale. I am also interested in the ants’ role in providing important ecosystem services.
Find out more about my previous research projects on my research page – here
Together with Professor Nigel Andrew at University of New England in Australia, I work on assessing climate change impacts on insects.
In collaboration with Dr. Patrick Schultheiss, I study foraging and navigation in ants.
In Dr. Sandra Rehan‘s lab, I investigated land use change impacts on wild bees.
During an interdisciplinary project with Professor Sally Power, Professor James Cook, Dr Catriona Macdonald and Prof Brajesh Singh at Western Sydney University, I assessed the value of golf courses as biodiversity hotspots in urban land scapes.
Outreach / extension
I am passionate about communicating research findings to the wider community, land owners and stakeholders, and to provide guidelines to improve biodiversity conservation and management practices.
To raise awareness about wild bees and their urgent need for conservation actions, I have developed taxonomic reference material and field guides for the wild bees of eastern North America. These books are aimed at the wider public. They contain information about wild bees and the benefits they can bring to private gardens, local vegetable plots, orchards and organic farms.
To communicate the presence of biodiversity hotspots in urban golf courses, I have disseminated research findings in form of a project summary to stakeholders, landowners and local communities. I have also created toolbox based management recommendations aimed at increasing levels of carbon and biodiversity on golf courses.
The Western Sydney University media team has showcased my research in a filmed interview to promote the diverse research environment at the university. Check out the video feature on the “Green corridors as simple as ABC“
The Australian Turfgrass Management Journal has reported on my research here
I went to one of the most inhospitable places in South Australia – the dry salt pans – to study the navigational abilities of thermophilic ants (Melophorus sp.) in collaboration with Dr. Patrick Schultheiss. We looked at foraging activity patterns and tracked their paths to find out what they use for navigation. The local Australian newspapers reported on our and the ants’ activities in the outback here and here.
Check out my media coverage about the fate of insect communities in a warmer climate: “When the heat is on!”