Dr Carmen da Silva- post-doc
Photos courtesy of James Dory
Carmen works on evolutionary physiology in native Australian and Fijian bees. She aims to understand the capacity bees have to adapt to changing environmental conditions. By assessing multiple native bee species and populations across broad latitudinal and altitudinal ranges she hopes to uncover phylogenetic physiological trends in thermal tolerance and desiccation resistance and predict how native bees will respond to further global warming.
In Fiji, until 2014 it was thought that only four endemic species of bee existed. Over 20 additional species have recently been discovered, however, a majority of these species exist at altitudes over 800m above sea level. Her Endeavour Fellowship aims to understand why most native Fijian bee species are restricted to high elevations. Is climate change pushing these bees to higher cooler elevations or are other factors such as competition or resource distributions driving their high-altitude ranges? By measuring trends in bee thermal tolerances, desiccation resistance and metabolic rate she hopes to determine if changing climates are pushing these bees to higher elevations and also to uncover correlations in climate and performance.
Matt Elmer- PhD student
Sarah Jaboor - honours student
Sarah is interested in the role of native bees in agricultural crops and activity temperatures of native bees vs honeybees.