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Integrative Ecology Lab current projects

Current student research projects
A summary of the current research projects being undertaken by students in the Integrative Ecology Lab

Current lab members 

Caitlyn Drayton-Taylor

Caitlyn Drayton-Taylor

Position: Masters Student
Research: The role of environmental complexity on decision making and foraging strategies in ant species
Email: cdra8214@uni.sydney.edu.au

Joanna Haddock

Joanna Haddock

Position: PhD Candidate
Research: The Dark Side of Light: Impacts of Artificial Lighting on Nocturnal Fauna
Email: joanna.haddock@sydney.edu.au

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall

Position: PhD Candidate
Research: The urban habitat use and ecological effects of the Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami)
Email: mhal6601@uni.sydney.edu.au

Jayne Hanford

Jayne Hanford

Position: PhD Candidate
Research: Constructing urban wetlands for biodiversity conservation and public health
Email: jayne.hanford@sydney.edu.au

Daniel Jin

Daniel Jin

Position: Honours Student
Research: Top-down control of insect herbivores in cities
Email: djin4060@uni.sydney.edu.au

Ryan Keith

Ryan Keith

Position: PhD Candidate
Research: Assessing and promoting environmental engagement in K-12 school cohorts
Email: ryan.keith@sydney.edu.au

Margot Law

Margot Law

Position: Research Assistant

Email: margot.law@sydney.edu.au

Heather Lee-Kiorgaard

Heather Lee-Kiorgaard

Position: Honours Student
Research: Are the ecological benefits of urban restoration resilient to invasion in the long-term?
Email: hlee9102@uni.sydney.edu.au

Ryan Leonard

Ryan Leonard

Position: PhD Candidate
Research: Making scents of a smelly situation: the effects of pollution on invertebrate memory and behaviour
Email: ryan.leonard@sydney.edu.au

Urban environments and the roads bisecting them contribute significantly to the high ambient levels of harmful pollutants, including particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen. These pollutants are detrimental to human health and, principal factors influencing the physiology and development of flora and fauna in urban centers. My research explores the effects urban pollutants have on invertebrate behaviour, with particular emphasis on invertebrate memory and cognitive ability. Using the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) as a model species, I principally investigate the effects of urban pollutants, including those associated with roads and vehicle exhaust, on the recognition and memory of floral-odours by honey bees.

Manuel Eduardo Lequerica Tamara

Manuel Eduardo Lequerica Tamara

Position: MSc Candidate
Research: Insect pollination Services in urban greenspace in Sydney
Email: manuel.lequericatamara@sydney.edu.au

I am interested in ecosystem services and ecology, particularly pollination services within urban areas. Because pollination is a decisive element in most fruit-bearing crops and as urban agriculture will keep on the rise as efficient food repositories, it is important to understand how urbanization can affect insect pollinators, and plant-pollinator interactions. The product of this research project should help us identify the roles of native and introduced pollinators in community gardens throughout Sydney, in order to assist present recommendations that might enhance urban pollination services.

Henry Lydecker

Henry Lydecker

Position: MSc Candidate
Research: Urban ecology of ticks (Ixodida) in Sydney, New South Wales
Email: henry.lydecker@sydney.edu.au

Peter Mann

'Spider' Man

Position: Lab manager
I'm in charge of motivating the graduate students. Even when they are completly exhausted they only have to look at me to see someone who's more stuffed than they are.
Links: Facebook

Rodrigo Roman

Rodrigo Roman

Position: PhD candidate
Research: Testing the marine bioregalisation of Australia using micro-gastropods as model fauna
Email: rodrigo.romanpena@sydney.edu.au

Lucy Taylor

Lucy Taylor

Position: Phd Candidate
Research: The impact of nature on urban residents' wellbeing
Email: l.taylor@sydney.edu.au

Lucy’s doctoral research involves investigating the impact that animal and plant life has on urban residents' wellbeing. This includes the effect of greenspace and biodiversity on health, the impact of policy and urban design on the wellbeing of human and non-human inhabitants, and the values and ethics surrounding human and non-human interaction. A key part of this research involves a survey: www.whoneedsnature.com

Past research includes avian surveys and behaviour in urban areas; eLearning and learning technologies; and learning and teaching quality in higher education.

Helen Smith

Helen Smith

Position: Research Associate
Research: Nature based solutions for growing cities: rewilding policy and practice
Email: h.smith@sydney.edu.au

Caragh Threlfall

Caragh Threlfall

Position: Research Associate
Research: Currently working on the Benchmarks project and refining the Sydney Urban-Rural Gradient
Email: caragh.threlfall@sydney.edu.au

Lab alumni

Warrick Angus

Research: Habitat use and feeding ecology of the redback spider, Latrodectus hasselti (Co-supervised with Dr Mike Gray, Australian Museum).
Position: Honours Student, 1998

De-anne Attard

Research: Delving beneath the surface: thermal ecology of a fossorial skink, Saiphos equalis.
Position: Honours Student, 2011

Georgina Barron

Research: Do invasive plants in degraded urban ecosystems facilitate ecological interactions?
Position: Honours Student, 2016
Email: gbar9282@uni.sydney.edu.au

Sarah Beaumont

Research: Diversity, function and invasion in a revegetated urban landscape
Position: Honours Student, 2013

 

Francesca van den Berg

Research: Thermal ecology of Flat Rock Spiders Morebilus plagusius
Position: PhD Candidate, 2015

Research: Hot and hungry: thermal biology of sit-and-wait predator in a thermally extreme/nutrient poor environment.
Position: Honours Student, 2009
Email: fvan5323@uni.sydney.edu.au

Robert Blackburn

Research: Ecosystem degradation along an urban-rural gradient: linking diversity to ecosystem processes.
Position: Honours student, 2009

Sean Blamires

Research: The ecological and physiological costs of orb weaving spider foraging.
Position: PhD Student, 2007

 

Beatrice Brennan

Research: Habitat use by the Major Pancake spider (Hemicloea major).
Position: Honours Student, 2002

Susan Burrows

Research: Dieback of Eucalyptus botryoides in urban forest remnants in the Sydney Basin.
Position: MSc (Env) Student, 1999

 

Tony Chen

Position: Honours Student
Research: Heat island effects and insect-plant interactions: trophic dynamics in hot and cold trees in urban environments
Email: tche2370@uni.sydney.edu.au

 

Evelyn Chia

Research: Habitat use by koalas in a restored landscape (Co-supervised with Prof Ian Hume).
Position: Honours Student, 2001


Fiona Christie

Research: Urban bushland remnants in the Sydney region: biodiversity in Australia's biggest backyard (Co-supervised with Dr Gerry Cassis, Australian Museum, funded by an ARC SPIRT grant).
Position: PhD Student, 2004

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Madeleine De Montfort

Research: Surviving the urban matrix: can small-scale replanting promote insect pollinator communities?
Position: Honours Student, 2015
Email: mdem4184@uni.sydney.edu.au

Suzanne Dobbie

Research: Ecological communities as a unit of conservation.
Position: MSc (Env) Student, 1999

 

Elisha Duxbury

Research: Ecosystem services provided by urban exploiters.
Position: Honours Student, 2014

 

Heloise Gibb

Research: The role of small mammals in regulating trophic relationships in leaf litter assemblages.
Position: MSc Student, 2001

 

Sue Giles

Research: The role of small mammals in regulating trophic relationships in leaf litter assemblages.
Position: MSc Student, 2001

 

Claire Goldsbrough

Research: The ecology of rock-dwelling fauna of the Hawkesbury sandstone (Co-supervised with Prof Rick Shine).
Position: Honours Student, 1998

Kristin Graham

Research: Faunal responses to hard and soft edges in Eucalypt forests (Co-supervised with Dr Grant Blackwell).
Position: Honours Student, 2003

 

Teresa Gustowski

Research: Impacts of urbanisation on plant-insect interactions.
Position: Honours Student, 2015

 

Matthew Hall

Research: Does repairing habitat restore ecological function? Ants and seed dispersal in an endangered ecological community
Email: mhal6601@uni.sydney.edu.au

 

Jayne Hanford

Research: Biodiversity Banking Surrogates: are they effective?
Position: Honours Student, 2011

 

Lisa Harvey

Research: Habitat use by the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) in urban ecosystems
Position: Honours Student, 2016
Email: lhar2495@uni.sydney.edu.au

 

Matilda Hughes

Research: Behavioural traits and dominance hierarchies of ants in urban environments
Position: Honours Student 2015
Email: mhug7486@uni.sydney.edu.au

 

Ryan Keith

Research: Wrack and Ruin: Impacts of coastal development on trophic interactions at the land-sea interface
Position: Honours Student, 2012
Email: rkei4830@usyd.edu.au

 

Scott Lassau

Research: The influence of natural barriers, habitat complexity and spatial proximity on arthropod assemblages in the Sydney sandstone area (Co-supervised with Dr Gerry Cassis, Australian Museum, funded by an ARC SPIRT grant).
Position: MSc Student, 1999

Research: Effects of road edges on distribution and abundance of ground dwelling invertebrates and small mammals in Sydney, New South Wales
Position: PhD Student, 2005

 

Margot Law

Research: Urbanisation and the Ecology of Arthropod Plant Interactions: The Role of Spatial Scale and Species Identity
Position: Honours Student, 2014

Ryan Leonard

Research: Blowing in the wind; the influence of wind energy and dust accumulation on leaf traits and consequences for leaf palatability and insect herbivore performance.
Position: Honours Student, 2013
Email: rleo8987@uni.sydney.edu.au

Boris Lomov

Research: Does ecological restoration work? Bush regeneration in western Sydney (Co-supervised with Dr David Keith, NSW NPWS, funded by an ARC linkage grant).
Position: PhD Student, 2006

Petah Low

Project: The ecology and behavior of eucalypt-feeding caterpillars in relation to avoiding attack from natural enemies
Position: PhD Candidate
Project: Direct and indirect effects of host plant quality on insect herbivores. 
Position:
 Honours Student, 2011
Email: petah.low@sydney.edu.au

Elizabeth Lowe

Research: The effect of urbanization on the diversity, abundance and condition of spiders
Position: PhD Candidate, 2015
Email: elizabeth.lowe@sydney.edu.au

Claire MacAlpine

Research: The effects of exotic plants on the distribution and prey capture of Australian crab spiders (Thomisidae)
Position: Honours Student, 2013
Email: cmac7410@sydney.edu.au

 

Miguel Matias

Research: Effects of structure of habitat on diversity of benthic assemblages.
Position: PhD Student, 2010

 




David McElroy

Research: Historical contingencies in marine eco-toxicology.
Position: PhD Student, 2015

 

Lauren McIntosh

Research: Nutrient enrichment in urban bushland fragments of Sydney: Effects on the native Angophora costata and the native environmental weed Pittosporum undulatum
Position: Honours Student, 2003

 

Fiona Powell

Research: Co-extinction on endangered plants: threatened acacias and their affiliate communities (Co-supervised with Dr Gerry Cassis, Australian Museum).
Position: PhD Student, 2011

 

Adele Reid

Research: Effect of grazing and nutrient inputs on the grassland arthropod diversity and the implications for sustainability (Co-supervised with Dr Gerry Cassis, Australian Museum, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia).
Position: PhD Student, 2004

Lachlan Robinson

Research: The effect of Asparagus aethiopicus on ant assemblages and seed removal in urban dry sclerophyll fragments.
Position: Honours Student, 2007

 

Tom Reader

Research: Gregariousness in larval lepidopterans (Royal Society Banks-Alecto Fellow).
Position: Visiting Scholar, 2002

 

Brendan Ryan

Research: The influence of roads on small mammal ecology in the north-west of Sydney (Co-supervised with Dr Chris Dickman).
Position: MSc (Env) Student, 1999

James Schlunke

Research: Ant assemblages and their environment
Position: PhD Candidate 2015 

Research: Responses of ant assemblages to revegetation 
Position: Honours student, 2008.
Email: james.schlunke@sydney.edu.au

Michelle Sutherland

Research: The nutritional and behavioural ecology of Doratifera casta and Mnesampela privata
Position: Honours Student, 1999

Bonita Siu

Research: Nutrient turnover in urban ecosystems: linking belowground biodiversity and plant decomposition in degraded landscapes
Position: Honours Student, 2016
Email: bsiu7652@uni.sydney.edu.au

Celia Symonds

Research: Cospeciation of Plantbugs and Native Cypress Pines (Co-supervised with Dr Gerry Cassis, Australian Museum, partially funded by an NSF Planetary Biodiversity initiative grant).
Position: Honours Student, 2005

 

Nik Tartanic

Research: Systematics and Sexual Selection in the Phylinae and Orthotylinae (Co-supervised with Dr Gerry Cassis, Australian Museum, funded by an NSF Planetary Biodiversity initiative grant).
Position: 2008

 

Luke Tilly

Research: Should I stay or should I go? Foraging strategies of orb weaving spiders.
Position: Honours Student, 2010

 

Jun Tong

Research: The evolution of Australian burrowing cockroaches
Position: Honours Student, 2013

Scott van Barneveld

Research: Ecology behaviour and physiology of the highly invasive lizard
Position: PhD Student, 2011

Amelie Vanderstock

Research: Determining the Effects of Coal Dust Pollution on Insect Pollinators and Herbivores
Position: Honours Student, 2016
Email: avan8374@uni.sydney.edu.au

Dan Watts

Research: The effect of artificial night lighting on the ecology of nocturnal insects
Position: Honours student, 2013
Email: dwat3626@uni.sydney.edu.au

Featured stories from the lab members