Previous CIBER Team Members

All current group members can be found here.

Julia Goerner

Name:

Julia Goerner

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I am interested to find out whether substances in the seminal fluid of drones are able to manipulate the physiology and behaviour of honeybee queens. To do this, I investigate whether the visual perception changes after queens have been artificially inseminated with seminal fluid.

Expertise:

Neurophysiology, Behavioural Ecology, Artificial Insemination, Postcopulatory Sexual Selection

Contact me:

j.goerner93[at]gmail.com

Ellen Paynter

Name:

Ellen Paynter

Function:

PhD student

Project description:

I am investigating the metabolic functions and respiratory capacity of honeybee sperm to understand the cellular energetics underpinning sperm survival, competition and storage.

Expertise:

Micro-respiratory measurements, Proteomics, Metabolite analysis, Flow cytometry

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

paynte01[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Marianne Peso

Name:

Marianne Peso

Function:

Postdoctoral Fellow

Project description:

I study how external stressors such as pesticides or different parasites affect the health of honeybee colonies and whether they could eventually lead to colony collapse. To do this, I expose honeybees to different stressors and measure their effects on colony health and performance. I am also interested to see how colonies respond when they are confronted with multiple stressors at the same time.

Expertise:

Pesticides, Colony Collapse, Immunity, Field Work

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

marianne.peso[at]uwa.edu.au

Christoph Kurze

Name:

Christoph Kurze

Function:

DAAD Fellow

Project description:

I am interested to unravel the molecular basis that underpins an evolutionary dynamics such as host-parasite interactions. I use honeybees and one of their most widespread diseases, the fungal pathogen Nosema, to unravel, how the functioning of genes and proteins can result in diseases tolerance.

Expertise:

Host-parasite interactions, Animal energetics, Behaviour

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

christoph.kurze@zoologie.uni-halle.de

Personal Website:

Click here

Mat Welch

Name:

Mat Welch

Function:

SIEF Fellow

Project description:

Epigenetic modifications can underpin the temporal and spatial interpretation of complex genomes to produce different phenotypes. In the honeybee (Apis mellifera), fertilised eggs develop into either workers or queens. Recent findings suggest that DNA methylation may play a role in the selection between worker and queen developmental trajectories. I am using next generation sequencing (NGS) to examine changes in the epigenome that occur throughout honeybee development and caste selection.

Expertise:

Molecular Biology, Epigenetics, Next generation sequencing

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

Mat.welch[at]uwa.edu.au

Alastair Boyd

Name:

Alastair Boyd

Function:

PhD Student

Project description:

I am interested in the identification and characterisation of an iron based magnetoreceptors in higher animals in an effort to understand homing behaviour. Using the honeybee as a model system, I will use a low to high resolution approach, using techniques such as ICP-AES iron analysis, SQUID magnetometry, magnetic resonance imaging, light microscopy, confocal microscopy and electron microscopy in order to locate cells potentially responsible for the detection of the Earth’s magnetic field. My work is done in collaboration with Jeremy Shaw

Expertise:

Biomineralisation, Magnetoreception, Electron microscopy, Cryo preparation

Contact me:

boyda01[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Claire Beckett

Name:

Claire Beckett

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I am interested to find out whether microsatellites can be used to differentiate between different termite colonies, which is difficult in the field as termites can have multiple mounts that can sometimes be hundreds of meters apart. Furthermore, I also develop and use behavioural agression tests to see whether low relatedness between individuals increases the aggressiveness against each other.

Expertise:

Behavioural Ecology, Zoology, Ethology

Contact me:

20359075[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Briony Jones

Name:

Briony Jones

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I am interested to find novel and innovative ways to control honeybee diseases. To do this I investigate whether the use of nano-sized thymol for the treatment of the gut pathogen Nosema apis is more effective compared to untreated regular thymol. I will feed Nosema spores to bees, and then provide different treatments and measure how efficiently tehy can control bee health.

Expertise:

Bee diseases, Conservation Biology, Nanotechnology

Contact me:

21141071[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Rob Manning

Name:

Rob Manning

Function:

Research Officer, Department of Agriculture and Food

Project description:

I am performing research to understand honeybee nutrition in order to improve beekeeping. I maintain close links to the Australian bee industry and I am involved in collaborative research between CIBER and the Department of Agriculture and Food on honeybee disease

Publications:

Click here

Expertise:

Artificial feeding, Bee keeping, Hygienic behavior, Pollination

Contact me:

rob.manning[at]agric.wa.gov.au

Yan Peng

Name:

Yan Peng

Function:

PhD student

Project description:


I investigate whether there are any microorganisms transmitted from the male to the female as part of the ejaculate. I want to use proteomics to identify these potential sexually transmitted diseases and to perform field experiments afterwards to test whether a vertical transmission transfer really occurs in the bees.

Expertise:

Sexually transmitted diseases, Microsporidiums, Queen rearing, Fluorescence microscopy

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

20729847@student.uwa.edu.au

Susanne den Boer

Name:

Susanne den Boer (Download CV)

Function:

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow

Project description:

I am interested in sexual selection and social insect mating biology and focus mainly on post-copulatory processes such as sperm competition and cryptic female choice, using honeybees and leafcutter ants as model species. Currently, I use techniques such as artificial insemination, fluorescence microscopy and proteomics to examine the interactions between male and female reproductive fluids and sperm.

Expertise:

Evolutionary biology, Sexual selection, Sperm competition, Cryptic female choice, Social insect biology

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

susanne.denboer[at]uwa.edu.au

Personal Website:

Click here

Tamara Hartke

Name:

Tamara Hartke

Function:

Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow

Project description:

In spite of their similar social structure, the termites have evolved very different dynamics between male and female reproductives compared to the ants and bees. I will be utilizing techniques developed at CIBER to study reproductive characteristics of termite queens and kings over their lifetimes, which will result in a broader understanding of the evolution of mating systems and societies.

Expertise:

Evolutionary biology, Reproductive ecology, Termites

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

trhartke[at]gmail.com

Leigh W. Simmons

Name:

Leigh W. Simmons

Function:

Researcher

Project description:

My research focuses on how variation in reproductive success influences the evolution of behaviour, morphology, and physiology. I am particularly interested in life-history trade-offs between male fertility and immunity, and how female mating behaviour promotes fitness through mechanisms of sperm competition and selective sperm use.

Expertise:

Behavioural ecology, Quantitative genetics, Ecological immunology, Sperm competition

Publications:

Publications

Contact me:

leigh.simmons[at]uwa.edu.au

Personal Website:

Click here

Danyang Cao

Name:

Danyang Cao

Function:

Masters Student

Project description:

I am interested to unravel what molecules and biochemical pathways are involved to make a sperm more or less competitive during the sperm storage process inside the honeybee queens sexual tract. To do this, I provide sperm with key metabolites that activate biochemical pathways that were identified in sperm and seminal fluid by earlier studies at CIBER.

Expertise:

Sperm viability, Sperm competition, Sperm storage success, Sexual selection

Contact me:

20992109[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Emily Ager

Name:

Emily Ager

Function:

Field Assistant

Project description:

I am involved in experimental field work to undertand the effects of pesticide exposure on honeybee health. TO do this I spend a lot of my time with the CIBER bees in the field, observing their behaviour and monitoring their well being.

Expertise:

Honeybee field work, beekeeping, behavioural work, botany and taxonomic botany

Contact me:

emilyager[at]hotmail.com

Andrew Carson

Name:

Andrew Carson

Function:

Honours Student

Project description:

I am interested whether there are differences in immunity or fertility between feral and managed honeybees. To do this I conduct experiments using the CIBER bee yards and study the behaviour of workers and males in the field. My work could be important to guide future bee breeding.

Expertise:

Feral bees, Field based honeybee experiments, Immunity, Sperm viability

Contact me:

20565064[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Nithin Srinaath Srinivasan

Name:

Nithin Srinaath Srinivasan

Function:

Research Student

Project description:

I am developing molecular markers that will allow me to differentiate between termite colonies of three species that only occur in Western Australia. Furthermore, I develop behavioural assays, for example to quantify aggressive behaviour of termites between colonies and species. My work will expand our current understanding of kin selection and conflicts in termite societies.

Expertise:

Termites, Behavioural essays, Micro Satellites,

Contact me:

21205939[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Nigel Helyer

Name:

Nigel Helyer

Function:

Artist in Residence

Project description:

I am interested to study to understand honeybees a little architects, especially the relationship between human and insect building and the potential to hybridise and/or restructure bee building behaviour. My aim is to make bees build novel designs and to re-create or modify human designed structures.

Expertise:

I am an independent sculptor and sound-artist and the director of a small multidisciplinary team Sonic Objects; Sonic Architecture

Contact me:

sonique1[at]me.com

Personal Website:

(click here)

Lori Lach

Name:

Lori Lach

Function:

Postdoctoral Researcher

Project description:

I am interested in how human-associated environmental changes such as habitat fragmentation, climate change, and introduced species affect insect-plant interactions, especially pollination. I am currently investigating how one of the most common honeybee diseases in the world affects the ability of bees to pollinate. I am also investigating the distribution of native and honey bees in urban bushland fragments and the role each has in pollinating native and non-native plants.

Expertise:

Community ecology, Pollination, Biological invasions, Insect-Plant interactions

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

lori.lach@uwa.edu.au

Kristiina Tabur

Name:

Kristiina Tabur

Function:

Masters student

Project description:

I am interested in developing a technique to observe sperm cells on freshly laid honeybee eggs. With this technique I will be able to study queen fertility by understanding the effects of, for example, queen age and male quality on the number of eggs used for each egg fertilization.

Expertise:

Honeybee biology, fluorescence microscopy, honeybee fieldwork

Contact me:

kristiinatabur[at]yahoo.com

Pauline Sell

Name:

Pauline Sell

Function:

German Exchange student

Project description:

Termites have an extremely high degree of developmental plasticity and an individual has the potential to change its caste during its lifetime, depending on the environment within the colony. I am using RNAi to explore how epigenetics, the differential regulation of particular parts of an individual's genome, operates in termites and how genes influence a termite's developmental fate.

Expertise:

Termite Biology, Epigenetics, Termite field work

Contact me:


marie.p.sell[at]gmail.com

Adelaide Cohan

Name:

Adelaide Cohalan

Function:

Masters Student

Project description:

My project involves exploring the subjective reality of the honeybee from an artistic perspective. I am interested in attempting to communicate with honeybees and exploring the barriers and challenges of making meaningful exchanges across species boundaries. To do this I offer honeybee workers up to 100 honey bait stations that differ in colour and use photographs to document their choice and their response when I start to manipulate he bait stations. This project is run in collaboration with SymbioticA

Expertise:

Interspecies collaboration in art, Painting, Drawing

Contact me:


21089917[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Mark Rhodes

Name:

Mark Rhodes

Function:

Honours Student

Project description:

As a commercial beekeeper, I am interested in honeybee breeding and queen rearing. Of particular interest is the use of instrumental insemination to accelerate improvement in economically significant genetic traits, especially in disease tolerance. I use artificial insemination techniques to generate new bee genotypes, for example by increasing genetic variability in managed stock and to test these bees performance under commercial conditions.

Expertise:

Bee keeping, bee breeding, artificial insemination

Contact me:

info@shunnerfellhoney.com.au

Personal Website:

(click here)

Marlene Stürup

Name:

Marlene Stürup

Function:

External PhD student

Project description:

My research is focused on male reproductive success where I look at postcopulatory sexual selection in the form of variation in sperm storage, fertilization probability and offspring viability in multiply mated social insects such as honeybees and leaf cutting ants.

Expertise:

Artificial insemination, Sperm viability, Genetics

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

msturup[at]bio.ku.dk

Personal Website:

Click here

Briana Ezray

Name:

Briana Ezray

Function:

Undergraduate Research Fellow

Project description:

I am interesting to develop a novel technique that allows the use of different fluorescence dyes to distinguish sperm from different honeybee males. I am specifically interested whether queens use sperm from a single or several males to fertilise a specific egg and hence whetehr sperm competition occurs during egg fertilisation in honeybees.

Expertise:

Fluorescence Microscopy, Sexual selection, Sperm competition, Artificial insemination

Contact me:

Briana Ezray 21260183[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Lori Lach

Name:

Lori Lach

Function:

Postdoctoral Researcher

Project description:

I am interested in how human-associated environmental changes such as habitat fragmentation, climate change, and introduced species affect insect-plant interactions, especially pollination. I am currently investigating how one of the most common honeybee diseases in the world affects the ability of bees to pollinate. I am also investigating the distribution of native and honey bees in urban bushland fragments and the role each has in pollinating native and non-native plants.

Expertise:

Community ecology, Pollination, Biological invasions, Insect-Plant interactions

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

lori.lach@uwa.edu.au

Kevin Hardi

Name:

Kevin Hardi

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I study the effect of secretions of the queens' reproductive tract on sperm function in the honeybee Apis mellifera. I use techniques such as artificial insemination and dissection to obtain secretions from the lateral oviducts and the spermatheca. I expose sperm to these secretions and measure whether they have an effect on sperm viability.

Expertise:

Fluorescence microscopy, sperm physiology, sperm viability, artificial insemination

Contact me:

10997515[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Jahmila Parthenay

Name:

Jahmila Parthenay

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I study the effects of immune challenges on drones to determine whether a trade off exists between energy expended in mounting an immune response and maintenance of sperm quality. I use techniques such as the encapsulation response, phenoloxidase activity and sperm oxygen consumption to measure these factors.

Expertise:

Fluorescence microscopy, honeybee fieldwork, sperm physiology, sperm viability

Contact me:

20383781@student.uwa.edu.au

Loren Kronemyer

Name:

Loren Kronemyer

Function:

Artist in Residence

Project description:

In a collaboration with SymbioticA, I am exploring the potential to use the trailing behaviours of ants and other insects as a medium for drawing. By utilising pheromones, I want to communicate with ants in collaborative drawing performances that showcase their emergent organisational abilities.

Expertise:

Art, performance, installation, behavioural ecology, insects, interdisciplinary

Contact me:

l.kronemyer[at]gmail.com

Personal Website:

(click here)

Tarsh Bates

Name:

Tarsh Bates

Function:

PhD student

Project description:

1. What are the cultural and aesthetic relationships between human hair and bees? Both are intimately related to sexuality and evolutionary aesthetics. With the support of CIBER this project explores the possibilities for re-homing honeybees offered by human hair through the construction of a series of forms from human hair for bees to live in.

Expertise:

Biological Art, Cultural & feminist theory, Bioethics

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

tarshbates[at]gmail.com

Personal Website:

(click here)

Koh Xue Ni

Name:

Koh Xue Ni

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I study the question whether electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones can affect male fertility in honeybees. To do this I expose developing drones to mobile phones and test whether their presence reduces the sperm number or viability in mature males.

Expertise:

Fluorescence microscopy, sperm physiology, sperm viability

Contact me:

10998504@student.uwa.edu.au

Reza Zareie

Name:

Reza Zareie

Function:

Postdoctoral Researcher

Project description:

I am interested in proteomics and functional analysis of sperm, seminal and spermathecal fluids of honeybees. In a broader sense, I am also interested in the application of mass spectrometry for polypeptide analysis, protein characterisation and bioinformatics.

Expertise:

Proteomics, Protein chemistry, Protein expression, Bioinformatics

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

Reza.zareie[at]uwa.edu.au>

Charlene Foo

Name:

Charlene Foo

Function:

Research associate

Project description:

I am interested in the study of immunocompetence in male honeybees to test whether there is a trade off between drone immunity and fertility. To do this I perform field based experiments and measure bee immunity using lab based techniques such as encapsulation response and the activity of the immune protein phenoloxidase. My work is done in close collaboration with Jahmila Partenay.

Expertise:

Encapsulation response, honeybee immunity, honeybee field work

Contact me:

20502407@student.uwa.edu.au

Francisco Garcia-Gonzalez

Name:

Paco Garcia-Gonzalez

Function:

Australian Research Fellow

Project description:

My research focuses in the study of the evolutionary ecology of sexual interactions. I am interested in post-copulatory sexual selection, the evolution of female multiple mating, sexual conflict over mating rates and paternity outcomes, maternal and paternal effects, and the estimation of genetic variation in fitness-related traits.

Expertise:

Evolutionary biology, Post-copulatory sexual selection, Sexual conflict.

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

paco.garcia[at]uwa.edu.au

Personal Website:

Click here

Mohammed Sakhawat Hossain

Name:

Mohammed Sakhawat Hossain

Function:

Crawford Fellow

Project description:


My research focuses on the effect of different chemicals on bee immunity and fertility. I am interested in bee breeding as a possibility to combat bee pests and diseases. My goal is to better understand the molecular mechanism of bee resistance.

Expertise:

Queen breeding, Bee parasites, Artificial feeding, Insect pest management

Contact me:

sakhawat_sau@yahoo.com

Maja Babis

Name:

Maja Babis

Function:

Masters student

Project description:

I am interested in the effects of ejaculates and ejaculate components on the physiology and behavior of a honeybee queens. To do this I use gaschromatography (GC-MS) to analyse changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles between virgin and inseminated honeybee queens.

Expertise:

GC-MS, Artificial insemination, Behavior, PCR

Contact me:

maja.babis[at]gmx.net

Personal Website:

(click here)

Ben Liebenberg

Name:

Ben Liebenberg

Function:

Apiarist

Project description:

I design and build equipment to use in experiments and breed and maintain bees to assist scientist and artists with their projects. My passion is bees and to find practical and natural ways to manage parasites and diseases.

Expertise:

Beekeeping at a commercial level, skilled with both European and South African honey bees, honey production, queen and drone rearing, construction of specialist beekeeping equipment.

Contact me:

ben.liebenberg[at]gmail.com

Rodolfo Jaffé

Name:

Rodolfo Jaffé

Function:

UWA Postdoctoral Fellow

Project description:

By relating the mating success of honey bee drones to the fertilization success of their sperm, my research aims to integrate pre- with postcopulatory sexual selection. My goal is to better understand how sexual selection operates in honeybees and to use this knowledge to help improve current bee breeding programs.

Expertise:

Evolutionary biology, Behavioral ecology, Sexual selection, Conservation biology

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

rjaffe[at]cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Personal Website:

Click here

Lizzy Lowe

Name:

Lizzy Lowe

Function:

Honours student

Project description:

I study the immune system of honeybees, comparing immunocompetence between feral and managed bees in Western Australia.

Expertise:

Encapsulation response, Protein activity measurements

Contact me:

lizzylowe[at]iinet.net.au

Michaela King

Name:

Michaela King

Function:

Postdoctoral Researcher

Project description:

I am interested in conservation and evolutionary biology. My current research focuses on the physiological and molecular interactions of reproductive components in honey bees and the mechanisms that allow social insect sperm to survive for years. To do this I study the effects of seminal fluid proteins on sperm survival.

Expertise:

Honey bee sperm viability, Artificial insemination, Functional genomics

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

mking[at]cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Puspita Demitria

Name:

Puspita Demitria

Function:

Honours student 2009

Project description:

My research project focused on the dynamics of sperm competition during the sperm storage process, which takes about 40 hours in honeybees. To do this I measured sperm viability over time and estimated the survival of sperm in the presence of seminal fluid from a competing male.

Expertise:

Sperm viability, fluorecence microscopy, sexual selection, sperm competition

Contact me:

demitp[at]student.uwa.edu.au

Felicity Wood

Name:

Felicity Wood

Function:

BioGENEius Fellow

Project description:

I am interested in immunity and reproduction in honeybees. I run experiments that test whether the seminal fluid is able to protect sperm form microbial attacks. I successfully applied as a BioGENEius fellow and I am running my research as part of a global competition.

Contact me:

john_wood[at]optusnet.com.au

Matthias Mueller

Name:

Matthias Mueller

Function:

PhD Student

Project description:

I study the fecundity of honey quuens and investigate the number of sperm females use to fertilize their eggs. The main aim of my PhD as part of the European BeeDoc project is to investigate parasite loads among different global honeybee populations.

Expertise:

Fluorescence microscopy, Molecular ecology, Microsatellites, rtPCR, Population genetics

Contact me:

mattiy@gmx.net

Holger Eubel

Name:

Holger Eubel

Function:

Researcher

Project description:

I am interested in the proteomic profiling of seminal and spermathecal fluid in honeybees. I also conduct experimental work to investigate the functioning of the respiratory chain proteins within the mitochondria of bee sperm.

Expertise:

Protein Biochemistry, Proteomics, Electrophoresis, Organelle Preparation

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

 heubel[at]cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Veronica Poland

Name:

Veronica Poland

Function:

Postdoctoral Researcher

Project description:

I am interested in studying sexual selection in honey bees. I am using proteomic techniques to characterize honey bee sperm, examine the effect of ejaculates on queens and identify differences in male reproductive success.

Expertise:

Proteomics, sexual conflict, honey bee sperm

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

vpoland[at]cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Maria Rubinsky

Name:

Maria Rubinsky

Function:

SIT Fellow

Project description:

I want to measure honey queen fecundity by counting the number of sperm females use to fertilize their eggs. I am specifically interested whether old queens, that stored sperm for several years, use more sperm to fertilize eggs.

Expertise:

Fluorescence microscopy, sperm counting

Contact me:

maria_rubinsky@brown.edu

Nicolas L. Taylor

Name:

Nicolas L. Taylor (See CV)

Function:

Researcher

Project description:

I study how plants acclimate to the extremes of temperature by adjusting their metabolism to survive. The temperatures at which plants grow vary as a result of global climate change and an understanding of how plant respiration responds to growth at different temperatures is vital to project the impact of climate change. The tools and techniques I developed for this project I now also apply to bees.

Expertise:

Proteomics, Mass spectrometry

Publications:

Click here

Contact me:

nic.taylor[at]uwa.edu.au

Personal Website:

Click here

Paul Yew

Name:

Paul Yew

Function:

Honours Student

Project description:

I am interested in whether electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones affects male fertility in honeybees. To do this I expose developing drones to mobile phone radiation and will test whether its presence reduces the sperm number or viability in these males. My work is done in collaboration with Paco Garcia Gonzalez

Expertise:

Conservation Biology, Sperm Viability, Fluorescence Microscopy

Contact me:

swatelite[at]hotmail.com

David Sherwood

Name:

David Sherwood

Function:

Advanced Science Student

Project description:

I use nanotechnologies to investigate possibilities to control Varroa mite infestations in honeybees. Furthermore, I am interested to develop nanotechnological approaches to understand sperm behavior and male fertility. My work is done in collaboration with Iyer Swaminathan

Expertise:

Nanoparticle synthesis

Contact me:

20502597[at]@student.uwa.edu.au

Collaborating Partners