I am broadly interested in the ecology and natural history of insects. My work to date falls within with two main themes; the use of functional traits to understand insect community ecology, and ant invasions, including the optimization of eradication program methods, and the consequences of ant invasion and any subsequent invasive species management. I am very much a field ecologist, and enjoy working within these themes by designing and executing field experiments to test theory in natural settings.

I completed a PhD at the University of Western Australia in 2017 investigating the mechanistic drivers of ant community reassembly during habitat restoration. I have worked as a postdoctoral fellow at JCU since mid-2017, primarily on a project providing science-backed support to the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s yellow crazy ant eradication efforts.

Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Entomological Society of Queensland - Small grants scheme

Investigating the pitfalls of bee hotels

Indicative Funding
$2,000 over 4 years
Concern for bees among the public has led to the augmentation of habitat for bees including the addition of bee hotels. Bee hotels are often claimed to increase bee diversity and abundance. However, they artificially aggregate nesting sites above densities naturally available for bees, which could lead to increased prevalence of pathogens, viruses and parasitism, and higher predation rates. Properly controlled experiments to investigate these threats are limited, and none have been conducted in the tropics. This project investigates whether the density of nesting spaces in bee hotels affects predation rates and pathogen and parasite prevalence in cavity nesting bees.
Holly Farnan, Lori Lach and Peter Yeeles (College of Science & Engineering)
Bee hotel; pathogen; native bee; agriculture; threats; Trap nest

Wet Tropics Management Authority - Contract Research

Research to inform yellow crazy ant management in the Wet Tropics

Indicative Funding
$2,207,607 over 5 years
Continuation and consolidation of four years of scientific activities to support yellow crazy ant eradication in the Wet Tropics (data analysis, monitoring non-target effects of baiting, probability of detection).
Lori Lach, Sourav Das, Peter Yeeles and Angela Strain (College of Science & Engineering)
Yellow Crazy Ants (Formicidae); Detection; Baiting; Population Dynamics; Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; Non-target effects

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Investigating the effects of insecticide exposure, pathogens, and heat stress on bee diversity, abundance, and health

Indicative Funding
$4,940 over 1 year
Bees are threatened by multiple stressors including insecticide exposure, disease, loss of habitat, and climate change. Studies investigating stressors facing Australian bees are becoming more common, but many knowledge gaps still exist and while some studies document the effects of stressors in isolation, they stop short of investigating the effects of stressors in combination. My project will investigate how the stressors of insecticide exposure, pathogens and heat stress affect native bee diversity, abundance, and health, as well as investigate whether bee hotels cause increased pathogen and parasitism prevalence, and predation rates in native bees.
Holly Farnan, Lori Lach and Peter Yeeles (College of Science & Engineering)
insecticide; pathogen; native bee; agriculture; threats; diversity

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Tenders

Baseline invasive ant fauna and impact survey in the Torres Strait

Indicative Funding
$113,370 over 1 year
The project aims to collect a representative baseline sample of ant fauna on all inhabited Torres Strait islands and five communities in the northern peninsula area of Cape York. The focus is on invasive and non-native ant fauna.
Peter Yeeles, Lori Lach and Chris Burwell (College of Science & Engineering and Queensland Museum)
invasive ants; native ants; survey; Torres Strait Islands; biosecurity

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Rainforest Protection Grant

Investigating combined stressors in bees: insecticides and thermal stress

Indicative Funding
$1,224 over 1 year
Insecticide use poses a risk to non-target insects including bees. The effects of these compounds is all the more worrying given that honey bees prefer nectar containing traces of the naturally derived insecticide class ? the neonicotinoids. This project will expand upon previous bodies of work to investigate the preference of stingless bee species Tetragonula hockingsi when provided with the choice between an insecticide laced food source and a sucrose solution. This project will also explore the combined effects of insecticide exposure and increasing temperature on bees.
Holly Farnan, Lori Lach and Peter Yeeles (College of Science & Engineering)
Climate Change; insecticide; combined stressor; tetragonula hockingsi (Meliponini); Critical Thermal Maximum; fipronil

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Investigating the effects of insecticide exposure, disease and heat stress on bee diversity, abundance and health (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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