Team Leader

Tobin Northfield

Tobin Northfield

Tobin is an Assistant Professor in the WSU Entomology Department, and is at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee Washington. Prior to joining WSU he was a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at James Cook University in Cairns Australia. While he is no longer recruiting new students at JCU, he continues to advise students he was supervising there. His publications are available at his Google Scholar profile

Graduate students

Abby Clarke

Abigail Clarke

Abby is a MS student in the department of Entomology at WSU. Her research focuses on plant-insect interactions between fruit treesand the pests that feed on them. Prior to starting at WSU she received her BS degree at University of Delaware. Abby’s can be contacted at abby.clarke@wsu.edu

Samantha Forbes

Samantha Forbes

Samantha is a PhD student at James Cook University. Her work focuses on pollinator and plant biology in an effort to improve food production in the tropics. She is also advised by Lucas Cernusak at JCU, and her research is funded by Mars Inc. Prior to starting her PhD she conducted her MSc research at JCU, and identified methods of simultaneously improving pollination and predator abundance in cacao farms through better habitat management. Samantha has conducted many media interviews about her research, including on Science Friday. Samantha can be contacted at samantha.forbes@jcu.edu.au

Publications:

Forbes, SJ, TD Northfield 2017. Increased pollinator habitat enhances cacao fruit set and predator conservation. Ecological Applications, 27: 887-899

Forbes, SJ, TD Northfield. 2017. Oecophylla smaragdina ants provide pest control in Australian cocoa. Biotropica, 49: 328-336.

Ed Evans

Ed Evans

Ed is conducting his PhD at JCU and his primary adviser is Dave Wilson. He is working to identify the factors driving venom traits in scorpions. Ed can be contacted at at edwardrobertjonathan.evans@my.jcu.edu.au

Publication:

Evans, ERJ, TD Northfield, NL Daly, DT Wilson. In press. Venom costs and optimisation in scorpions. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Ryan Orr

Ryan Orr

Ryan is conducting his PhD research at JCU, and is primarily advised by Paul Nelson. He is identifying the soil characteristics and management strategies that alter prevalence of Panama Disease, a fungal pathogen that damages bananas worldwide. Ryan can be contacted at ryan.orr@jcu.edu.au

Publications:

Oliver, DP, Y Li, R Orr, P Nelson, M Barnes, MJ McLaughlin, RS Kookana. The role of surface charge and pH changes in tropical soils on sorption behaviour of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Science of the Total Environment, 673: 197-206.

A Bowen, R Orr, AV McBeath, A Pattison, PN Nelson. Suppresiveness or conduciveness to Fusarium wilt of bananas differs between key Australian soils. Soil Research, 57: 158-165.

Orr, R, and PN Nelson. 2018. Impacts of soil abiotic attributes of Fusarium wilt, focusing on bananas. Applied Soil Ecology, 262: 1-10.

Olivia Rowley

Olivia Rowley

Olivia Rowley is conducting her PhD at JCU, and is primarily advised by Jamie Seymour. She is using a combination of experiments and modeling approaches to describe the environmental drivers of deadly jellyfish in Australia. Olivia can be contacted at olivia.rowley@my.jcu.edu.au

Publication:

Deppe, L, O Rowley, LK Rowe, N Shi, N McArthur, O Gooday, SJ Goldstein. 2017. Investigation of fallout events in Hutton’s shearwaters (Puffinis huttoni) associated -with artificial lighting. Notoris, 64: 181-191.

Nicolás Younes Cárdenas

Nicolás is conducting his PhD at JCU and is primarily advised by Karen Joyce. He is combining novel statistical approaches and Landsat data to describe changes in mangrove phenology over the last 30 years. Nicolás can be contacted at nicolas.younescardenas@my.jcu.edu.au

Publications:

Younes Cárdenas, N, KE Joyce, SW Maier. 2017. Monitoring mangrove forests: Are we taking full advantage of technology? International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 63. pp. 1-14

Younes Cárdenas, N, E Erazo Mera. 2016. Landslide susceptibility analysisusing remote sensing and GIS in the western Ecuadorian Andes. Natural Hazards, 81: 1829-1859.

Neira, F, N Younes. 2011. Evaluacion multicriterial de los usos de substincia de la biodiversidad por parte de una comunidad Kichwa en la Reserva Biologica Limoncocha in Retos y amenazas en Yasuni, FLASCO Andes, pps 137-152.

 

Hall of Fame (lab alumni)

Eli Bloom

Eli completed his PhD at WSU, and was advised by Dave Crowder. He came to JCU on an NSF fellowship to develop his theoretical skills and develop novel analyses of his pollinator data sets. His research focuses on the stability and diversity of pollinator communities in diversified farming systems. He is now a postdoctoral research at Michigan State University.

 

David Clarke

David Clarke

David conducted his Honour’s research at JCU focused on the factors driving invertebrate diversity in seagrass meadows, and was coadvised by Paul York and Michael Rasheed from TropWATER. He is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Resulting publications:

Carke, DA, PH York, MA Rasheed, TD Northfield. 2017. Identifying areas in need of tropical research. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 32: 628.

Clarke, DA, PH York, MA Rasheed, TD Northfield. 2017. Does biodiversity-ecosystem function literature neglect tropical ecosystems? Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 32: 320-323.

Jade Ferguson

Jade Ferguson

Jade conducted her Honours research at JCU, and was primarily advised by Lori Lach. Through experiments and observational studies she documented the effects of a honey bee parasite, Nosema ceranae, on honey bee foraging preferences and the effects of pollen quality on the likelihood that honey bees can survive the parasite.

Resulting publication:

Ferguson, JA, TD Northfield, L Lach. 2018. Honey bee (Apis Mellifera) pollen foraging reflects benefits dependent on individual infection status. Microbial Ecology, 76: 482-491.

Alex Gangur

Alex conducted his Honours research at JCU. Through his experiments on scorpsion, he identified for the first time that predator exposure can induce changes in venom composition, and used theoretical models to describe the effects of top-down and bottom-up effects on venom evolution in venomous mesopredators. Alex’s research was discussed in a number of media outlets. He is now a PhD candidate at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Resulting publications:

Gangur, AN, JE Seymour, MJ Lidell, D Wilson, MJ Smout, TD Northfield. 2018. When is overkill optimal? Tritrophic interactiosn reveal new insights into venom evolution. Theoretical Ecology, 11: 141-149

Gangur, AN, MJ Smout, MJ Lidell, JE Seymour, D Wilson, TD Northfield. 2017. Changes in predator exposure, but not diet induce phenotypic plasticity in scorpion venom. Proceedings of the Royal Society: B, 284:  20171364.

 

Desiree Gowell

Desiree Gowell

Desiree conducted her MSc special project at JCU on the spatio-temporal distributions of pests and their natural enemies in cacao farms. She is now a data analyst at the Wet Tropics Management Authority.

Amy McGuire

Amy McGuire

Amy conducted her Honours research at JCU on evaluating soil characteristics that promote entomopathogenic fungi in banana farms as part of her efforts to identify a fungal pathogen to control thrips. She also used theoretical models to evaluate the effects of environmental conditions on diversification of host-parasite communities. Her research was in collaboration with Pacific Eco Bananas, and has been covered in several media outlets, including ABC Australia’s Landline.

Jame Milner

As an undergraduate at JCU, James conducted used ecoevolutionary models to evaluate the potential effects of honey bees on native plant-pollinator interactions in collaboration with Tobin, Eli Bloom, and Dave Crowder (Eli’s advisor). For his Honours research he used mechanistic models to evaluate the effects of environmental conditions on tropical rainforest communities, and competition models to evaluate the effects of indirect interactions on community stability.

Alfonso Moreno

Alfonso Moreno

Alfonso conducted his Honours research at JCU and was primarily advised by Sean Connolly. His research focused on community dynamics models to evaluate the processes driving patterns of species abundance generally found in ecological communities.

Hemchandranauth Sambhu

Hemchandranauth Sambhu

Hemchandranauth conducted his PhD research at JCU, which focused on a combination on ecological and sociological research in Guyana and Australia. He compared patterns of butterfly abundance and community composition across different landscapes, wrote a checklist for butterflies of Australia, and participated or led a number of outreach events for the general public and schools.

Resulting publications:

Sambhu, H, A Nankishore, S Turton, TD Northfield. 2018. Trade-offs for butterfly alpha and beta diversity in human-modified landscapes and tropical rainforests. Ecology and Evolution. 8: 12918-12928.

Sambhu, H, A Nankishore. 2018. Butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Guyana: A compilation of records. Zootaxa, 4371: 1-187.

Sambhu, H, TD Northfield, A Nankishore, A Ansari, S Turton. 2017. Tropical rainforest and human-modified landscapes support unique butterfly communities that differ in abundance and diversity. Environmental Entomology, 46: 1225-1234.

Jessa Thurman

Jessa Thurman

Jessa joined the lab in JCU first on an international Watson Fellowship, and then as a Fulbright Fellow. She worked on biological control of pests in cacao by green weaver ants and Anastatus sp. wasps. She is now a PhD candidate at University of Queensland, in Brisbane Australia.

Resulting publications:

Thurman, JH, TD Northfield, WE Snyder. In press. Weaver ants provide ecosystem services to tropical tree crops. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Thurman, JH, DW Crowder, TD Northfield. 2017. Biological control agents in the Anthropocene: Current risks and future options. Current Opinion in Insect Science, 23: 59-64.