Petah Low

Petah Low

Position: PhD Student

Phone: 02 9351 5118

Location: Room 408, Heydon-Laurence Building (A08), The University of Sydney, NSW 2006

Email:


Current Research

Feeding is necessary for survival but often places an animal at greater risk of predation. I am interested in how insect herbivores balance this conflict between eating and not being eaten. Using Eucalyptus trees, eucalypt-feeding caterpillars and their natural enemies as a study system, my work investigates (i) some of the factors that influence levels of predation and (ii) how insects detect and respond to predation risk.

Past Research

Project: Insects eating eucalypts: a highly volatile situation? Direct and indirect effects of host plant quality on eucalypt-feeding insect herbivores .
(Co-supervisors: Associate Professors Dieter Hochuli and Clare McArthur)
Position: Honours Student, 2011

Model prey item with Cineole
Model prey item
Model prey item
Feeding trials

Publications

  • P. A. Low, K. Sam, C. McArthur, M. R. C. Posa and D. F. Hochuli. 2014. Determining predator identity from attack marks left in model caterpillars: guidelines for best practice. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, doi: 10.1111/eea.12207
  • P. A. Low, C. McArthur, K. Fisher and D. F. Hochuli. 2014. Elevated volatile concentrations in high-nutrient plants: do insect herbivores pay a high price for good food? Ecological Entomology, doi: 10.1111/een.12124
  • P. A. Low, C. McArthur and D. F. Hochuli. 2014. Dealing with your past: experience of failed predation suppresses caterpillar feeding behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 90, 337-343.
  • P. A. Low, W. J. Angus, A. Wagner, D. Wilkin, M. Shiels, R. Dockerill and D. F. Hochuli. 2013. Use of spider silk for nest building by the Regent Honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia and the Helmeted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops cassidix. Australian Zoologist, 36, 349-354
  • P. Nanork, P. A. Low, K. M. Proft, J. Lim, S. Deowanish, S. Wongsiri, B. P. Oldroyd. 2011. Actual reproductive conflict during emergency queen rearing in Apis florea. Apidologie, 42, 206-210, DOI: 10.1051/apido/2010052

Conference Presentations

  • Oral Presentation: Head capsule stacking by caterpillars as a defense against natural enemies: are more heads better? Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour Conference, July 2014, Katoomba, Australia
  • Poster Presentation: Out on a limb: are eucalypt-feeding insects at greater risk of predation on young foliage? Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, August 2013, Minneapolis, Minnesota, America
  • Oral Presentation: Out on a limb: are eucalypt-feeding insects at greater risk of predation on young foliage? Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference, December 2012, Melbourne, Australia
  • Oral Presentation: Insects eating eucalypts: a highly volatile situation? Australian Entomological Society and Australasian Arachnological Society Joint Conference, November 2012, Hobart, Australia
  • Oral Presentation: Do eucalypt-feeding insects pay a high price for good food? Ecological Society of Australia, 36th Annual Conference, November 2011, Hobart, Australia

Awards

Year Academic Scholarships and Awards
2013 ASSAB Student Research Grant, The Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour
2013 Wiley Blackwell Fundamental Ecology Award, Ecological Society of Australia
2011 John H Elliott Memorial Prize for Best Thesis in Animal Biology, The University of Sydney
2011 William John Dakin Memorial Prize in Zoology, The University of Sydney
2011 ESA Wiley Blackwell Student Prize for Outstanding Spoken Presentation, Ecological Society of Australia
2011 Biology Honours Class I and University Medal, The University of Sydney
2010 The University of Sydney Honours Scholarship, The University of Sydney
2009 Walter Reid Memorial Prize, The University of Sydney
2009 GS Caird Scholarship in Zoology, The University of Sydney
2009 Haswell Prize for Biology, The University of Sydney
2008 Walter Reid Memorial Prize, The University of Sydney
2008 Mary Besly Memorial Prize for best assignment in the area of Invertebrate Zoology, The University of Sydney
2007 Walter Reid Memorial Prize, The University of Sydney
2007 The University of Sydney Biology Entry Scholarship, The University of Sydney