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Honey bee specialist receives excellence award


22 October 2014

2014 NSW Science & Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences goes to Professor Ben Oldroyd.
2014 NSW Science & Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences goes to Professor Ben Oldroyd.

In a ceremony at NSW Government House, Professor Ben Oldroyd received a 2014 NSW Science & Engineering Award.Ben won the 'Excellence in Biological Sciences (Ecology, environmental, agricultural and organismal)' prize for his work on behavioural genetics and the evolution of social behaviour.

The NSW Science and Engineering Awards are given annually and acknowledge the state's leading researchers in science and engineering for innovative work that generates economic, health, environmental or technological benefits for New South Wales.

Ben has made significant contributions to our understanding of how honey bee societies are regulated and policed, and how they evolved. He is also heavily involved with the Australian beekeeping industry, helping beekeepers breed better, healthier strains, and providing scientific advice on matters ranging from quarantine and the problems of feral bees.

He has shown that sterility has a genetic basis and identified related genes. His work on the evolution of sociality is particularly profound, because it has united the disparate fields of theoretical population biology and molecular biology. Ben's ground-breaking work on feral bee populations includes providing the only reliable estimates of feral colony distributions across South East Australia, based on an ingenious genetic sampling technique.

Ben's breeding techniques are now widespread in the Australian beekeeping industry, enhancing productivity. His book, titled 'Asian Honey Bees: Biology, Conservation and Human Interactions', published by Harvard University Press, is the authoritative text on the subject.


Contact: Verity Leatherdale

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