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Temporary Principal Investigator, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg

I am an insect ecologist. My work focuses on functional community ecology, biodiversity and global environmental change. I investigate species trait – environment relationships and how traits shape biotic interactions and ecological processes.

My goal is to provide a data-based mechanistic understanding of insect declines and show new ways forward for improved conservation measures. Specifically, I investigate how species traits are linked to the environment and which traits are needed to persist in current environmental change and to survive more stressful climatic conditions in the future. I tackle these questions by integrating empirical research with mathematical modelling approaches.

In 2021 I received a research grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG) to study the challenging life of alpine bumblebees. My work investigates relationships between functional traits -with particular focus on chemical traits, such as the cuticular hydrocarbons – and environmental features. I conduct this research in Professor Thomas Schmitt‘s Evolutionary Chemical Ecology Lab at the University of Würzburg in Germany.

In collaboration with the Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Lab led by Associate Professor Benoit Guénard at University of Hong Kong, I investigate environmental drivers of ant communities on a global scale and in the Subtropics.

Together with Professor Nigel Andrew at University of New England in Australia, I assessed climate change impacts on insects.

In collaboration with Dr. Patrick Schultheiss, I study foraging and navigation behaviour in thermophilic desert ants.

At the University of New Hampshire in the US, I studied the effects of land use changes on wild bees in Associate Professor Sandra Rehan‘s lab.

During an interdisciplinary project with Professor Sally Power, Professor James Cook, Dr Catriona Macdonald and Prof Brajesh Singh at Western Sydney University, I assessed the value of golf courses as biodiversity hotspots in urban land scapes.

With Professor Lesley Hughes at Macquarie University, I investigated the impacts of climate change on plant-insect associations by using novel and rarely used approaches – the powerful transplant experiments.