I’m currently working my way through 162 invertebrate samples from 27 sites in the Otway Ranges with the aim of understanding the effect fire has on flying insect population structure in Australia. Existing Australian studies on fire and insects have primarily focused on terrestrial and litter dwelling invertebrates, which may have a different response to fire than their flying counterparts. Studies that include flying insects have been conducted overseas in forests where the vegetation structure is very different to that of Australian forests.
Right now I’m working through all of the beetle samples, the order in which we collected the highest number of individuals. My results will hopefully add to our knowledge of the current global pollinator decline, and aid future research on the recovery of insectivorous animals after fire. All the disruption from coronavirus has really slowed things down for me but I’ve finally gotten my hands on my insects again and can carry on while I work from home.
As a research group, we've given a disproportionate level of attention to furry animals over the past few years, but Emma Window is helping redress the balance with her study of the effects of fire on flying insects. Given that she's been unable to visit the lab under coronavirus, she's got the lab to come to her!
Fire Ecology and Biodiversity at UniMelb
Bushfire Behaviour and Management at UniMelb
Quantitative & Applied Ecology Group at UniMelb
Integrated Forest Ecosystem Research at UniMelb