Using DNA metabarcoding to identify plants used by Australian stingless and solitary bees
Abstract: Designing landscapes to support native bees requires information about the different plants preferred by different species. Much of what we know about the plants that bees visit comes from direct observation of bees visiting flowers or collecting nest materials. Another way of identifying the plants used by bees is “DNA metabarcoding”, which matches the sequence of DNA from pollens or nest materials to sequences of DNA “barcodes” from plants known to grow in the region. This talk reports the findings from DNA metabarcoding studies of Tetragonula carbonaria colonies and solitary bees in eucalypt forests and macadamia orchards on the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg.
Biography: Rachele Wilson (BSc. Hons.) is a research assistant in the Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security at Griffith University and a PhD student in the School of Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her research focusses on the study of ecological interactions in natural and agricultural landscapes to inform land/animal management. She is one of a few individuals in Australia that can use the molecular technique of DNA metabarcoding to identify plants, animals and other organisms from material in environmental samples. Rachele has used this technique to identify: crop loyalty and alternative forage for stingless bees on farms; wasp prey for pest regulation; competition between honeybees and native bees; pollen diets and nest materials of solitary bees in forests and orchards; root-zone competition between crops; resin sources of stingless bee propolis; and fruit bat forage to prevent spill-over of bat pathogens.
All are welcome to attend in person, $5 fee for non-members. NOTE NEW VENUE: Bulimba Community Centre, 1 Barramul St, Bulimba, Brisbane. We will attend to some branch business following the talk from 2-3 pm.
ANBA members can attend virtually using a link that will be sent in an email.
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