About

I am interested in the ecological interactions between fungi, plants and animals. This broad interest incorporates mycology, botany, taxonomy, molecular biology, conservation biology and plant pathology, with a special focus on tropical ecosystems.

Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2014 - Daniel McAlpine Medal for outstanding early career research in mycology
Publications

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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 17+ research outputs authored by Dr Sandra Abell from 2006 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Department of the Environment and Energy - Caring for our Country - Target Area Grant

Bettongia tropica population status, viability and impacts of fire

Indicative Funding
$262,579 over 4 years (administered by World Wildlife Fund for Nature Australia)
Summary
Northern Bettong (Bettongia tropica) populations are in decline across its range due to loss of habitat, food source availability, competition, predation, and altered fire and grazing regimes. Landscape-scale surveys across lB. tropica's range in the Wet Tropics bioregion have not been conducted for 17 years. This Caring for Our Country funded project will estimate the current populationstatus in far north Queensland, using new remote sensing technologies (including camera traps and the molecular analysis of oorts*), and address multiple threats in delivering recovery actions, and for the survival of the Northern Bettong.
Investigators
Christine Hof, Darren Grover, Sandra Abell, L Joseph and Lana Little in collaboration with Tegan Whitehead, Susan Nuske, Jessica Koleck and Stephanie Todd (World Wildlife Fund for Nature Australia, College of Science & Engineering, Department of Environment and Heritage (SA) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service)
Keywords
Bettongia tropica (Potoroidae); Population; Fire; oorts; Impacts; resources

Wet Tropics Management Authority - Student Research Grant Scheme

Interactions among fungi, ants, and the ant-plant Myrmecodia beccarii.

Indicative Funding
$3,993
Summary
Myrmecodia beccarii is a vulnerable endemic ant-plant of far north Queensland. This ant-plant provides ants with housing in specialised tunnels and chambers. Fungi were discovered in these chambers over 30 years ago but their identity and functional roles have never been determined. I will explore the ecological interactions between fungi, ants and M. beccarii to establish and define this tripartitie mutualism. To do this, I will conduct field work to determine the distribution of fungal species within M. beccarii and field/greenhouse experiments to investigate the interactions and functional roles of fungi. The results will be used to inform the conservation of M. beccarii.
Investigators
Melinda Greenfield, Sandra Abell, Lori Lach and Joe Holtum (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Myrmecodia beccarii; Ant-plants; Fungi; Philidris cordata

Department of the Environment and Energy - Australian Biological Resources Study - Postdoctoral Fellowship

Systematic catalogue of arthropod infecting fungi in the genus Cordyceps sensu lato (Hypocreales, Ascomycota) and related genera, from Australian rainforests

Indicative Funding
$135,000 over 3 years
Summary
Fungi that infect insects are common in tropical regions of Australia. Despite their abundance, they have never been taxonomically studied in Australia. Recent collections from Australian rainforests have revealed a diversity (over 150) of unclassified taxa on ants, flies, scale insects and spiders. This project will focus on the genera Akanthomyces, Cordyceps, Gibellula, Hirsutella, Hypocrella, Ophiocordyceps, and Torrubiella. A systematic revision and Lucid guide to at least 40 Australian species will be produced. This project will contribute to a better understanding of the health of insect communities and the identity of potential biological control agents of insect pests.
Investigators
Sandra Abell and R Shivas in collaboration with Elizabeth Aitken (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Forestry)
Keywords
Entomopathogen; Cordyceps fungi; Systematics; Biocontrol; Taxonomy; Evolution

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Phylogeny and Biogeography of Australian Garcinia (Clusiaceae)

Indicative Funding
$3,300
Summary
This project will analyse the affinity of close related taxa within Garcinia in Australia. The analysis will use the platform of DArT? Analysis established by DArT? Company, Canberra. The DNA samples will be prepared in high quality and quantity templates to allow the restriction enzyme recognises and cuts the restriction sites in the whole genome. The restriction sites will be analysed using DArT? protocol and software which the in final result will produce DArT? sequence analysis. This final result will show the affinity of the taxa which can also be used to analyse how the genetic varieties occur such as the shape of the fruits, the colour of the flowers and other minute morphological characters.
Investigators
Rismita Sari, Sandra Abell, Darren Crayn, Natalie Dillon and Paul Gadek (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Garcinia; Clusianeae; Phylogeny; Mangosteen; Biogeography; Septogarcinia sumbawaensis

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Phylogeny and biogeography of Australian Garcinia spp. (Clusiaceae)

Indicative Funding
$2,712 over 3 years
Summary
This project will contribute to the management and conservation of rare and threatened Garcinia species in the wet tropics rainforests; will broaden the knowledge of Garcinia in Australia; and give a better understanding and knowledge of the phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships of mangosteen genera (Garcinia spp.) that grow in tropical rainforest around the world including endemic species in North Queensland (Australia), Malesia (South-East Asia), South Asia and Africa.
Investigators
Paul Gadek, Rismita Sari and Sandra Abell (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Garcinia (Clusiaceae); Molecular Systematics; Phylogeny; Biogeography
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or 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.

Current
  • Population genetics and non-invasive population estimation of the endangered northern bettong, Bettongia tropica (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Biodiversity and Phylogeography of Mountain-top fungi (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • An Assessment of Monotypic Genus Septogarcinia Kosterm., Australian Garcinia, Hybridization, Biogeography and Evolution in Garcinia (Clusiaceae) (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Interactions Among Fungi, Ants, and the Ant-plant Myrmecodia beccarii (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

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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  5. Prof Darren Crayn
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