Honours projects with Dieter Hochuli

About the Lab

I study the ecology of the most diverse group of animals on the planet, insects and spiders, with a major focus on insect-plant interactions, community ecology and conservation biology. Much of my work examines the ecology and restoration of degraded and stressed ecosystems, particularly in urban environments. This lets us identify changes in ecological function in these systems and gives us insights into ecosystem health. I’m interested in scaling responses from individuals to landscapes in a range of systems, identifying the mechanisms driving change at coarse spatial scales. This means we approach our questions using bottom-up and top-down approaches, integrating experimental and survey based approaches at ecologically relevant scales.

Website: http://sydney.edu.au/science/biology/hochuli/

Potential Honours projects

In defining projects I typically discuss a range of projects that integrate my ongoing research with individual student’s interests, so that specifics of projects are developed in discussions with prospective students. For an idea of the types of things students have done in recent years have a look at the past students page on our website. Starting questions for future projects include:

  1. Are urban ecosystems hostile environments for herbivorous insects?
    What traits identify urban adapters?
  2. Does restoration of degraded landscapes foster the return of ecological function?
  3. How is top-down control of insect herbivores by avian herbivores mediated by plant traits?
  4. Do dominant ants structure the composition of ant communities in degraded ecosystems?
  5. How does ant dispersal affect seed fate in remnant vegetation?
  6. Are arboreal spiders host specific?