What do we do?
Our group has 3 main, overlapping interests:
1) host-parasite evolutionary ecology
why do parasites hurt their hosts? how do hosts defend themselves against parasites? why do some parasites have multiple host species whilst others are restricted to just one? how are parasites transmitted from one host to another? how do the dynamics of complex host-parasite systems differ from the classical single-host/single-parasite models? We try to answer these questions using bumblebees, and other social insects, as model host systems. Bumblebees have lots of different parasites - from viruses to worms - making them a great system to help us understand the ecology and evolution of host-parasite systems.
2) social insects
Social insects dominate the earth and provide us with major ecosystem services such as pollination. We're interested in understanding how social insect colonies work, and how these colonies interact with ecological systems.
3) conservation of bees
Bees - bumblebees, honeybees, and other social and solitary bees - are essential pollinators of wild flowers and flowering crops. However, they face significant threats and many are in decline at local and global scales. Our work aims to secure wild bumblebee populations for the foreseeable future.