Dr Joanne Bennett

PhD
ARC DECRA fellow
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Ecological Impacts Of Climate Change And Ecological Adaptation 410102
  • Ecology 3103
  • Community Ecology (Excl. Invasive Species Ecology) 310302
  • Terrestrial Ecology 310308
  • Global Change Biology 319902

Research interests

I aim to understand how anthropogenic change, primarily climate and land-use change, will influence species distributions and the subsequent impacts on species interactions that are vital for ecosystem functions such as pollination. I am currently a ARC DECRA fellow leading a project that aims to link changes in pollinator communities and plant-pollinator networks to plant reproduction.

 

My work integrates the disciplines of physiology, community ecology and evolutionary history to tease apart the relative importance of direct (habitat change) and cascading (altered species interactions) changes to ecosystems.

Available student projects

Multiple project opportunities in pollination ecology. Investigating long-term changes in pollination services

 

Background

Pollinator species may be particularly vulnerable to human disturbance, leading to concerns we are experiencing a ‘pollinator crisis’ where wild plant and crop reproduction may fail.  In our research we are combining a range of techniques to investigate the effects of human disturbances on the state of pollination services in Australia and globally.

 

Projects

  1. Investigating whether recent anthropogenic permutations to pollination environments can explain changes in the success of pollination rate in orchids. The project will develop a time-series data set using herbarium specimens and field collected data of pollination rates in Australian orchids.
  2. Understanding what leads to pollen limitation in Alpine plant species? A plant is pollen limited if it produces more seeds or fruits from flowers that receive human supplemented pollen compared to flowers that have only received pollen from natural vectors. Human disturbance can alter the spatial and temporal distribution of species and timing of phenological events, which may disrupt the coevolved interactions between plants and pollinator communities leading to increases in pollen limitation. The project aims determine if Alpine plants are pollen limited and if so, is greater pollen limitation associated with changes in pollinator interactions, flowering phenology or herbivory?
  3. Impacts of invasive Asteraceae in the Australian Alpine on pollination success of native Asteraceae. Invasive flowering plants readily integrate into plant-pollinator communities, potentially impacting native plant pollination via effects on pollinator visitation. Pollinator visitation to native plants may be reduced if invasive plants draw pollinators away from them. Conversely, the quality of pollination may be impacted if pollinators transfer invasive plant pollen to native plants. Such pollinator-mediated impacts are likely greater for plant taxa that are related to the invasive plants (e.g., same family), due to greater pollinator sharing. Australian alpine plant communities have experienced invasions by several Asteraceae species in recent years.

 

Field sites are located in the Australian Alpine (Kosciusko) and/or Canberra region (Black Mountain)

 

For more information

if you are interested in these projects or other projects in pollination ecology, please contact Joanne.bennett@anu.edu.au

 

Return to top

Updated:  03 March 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers