Dr Sam Lymbery
The Forrest Prospect Fellowships are an extremely valuable new initiative and I am very excited by the opportunity they have provided me with. Postdoctoral opportunities are vanishingly rare, and usually require young researchers to uproot their lives and move overseas – a demand that is particularly difficult in the current climate. These prestigious new Fellowships therefore provide an enormous boost to the opportunities available to early career researchers like me.

Dr Lymbery’s research will use evolutionary theory to devise innovative new approaches to the management of invasive ants. Invasive ants are one of the most destructive groups of pest organisms, dominating native ecosystems, reducing agricultural productivity, damaging infrastructure and costing affected countries billions of dollars per year. Current management techniques rely on broad-scale pesticide application, but this can have disastrous side-effects for native ecosystems. The aim of Samuel’s project will be to use our well-established knowledge of behavioural ecology to disrupt the social structure of invasive ants with targeted biochemicals and pheromones. This will provide a cost-effective and ecologically friendly approach to the control of these catastrophic pest species.

To conduct this work, Samuel joined Raphael Didham’s Insect Ecology team at UWA, and worked with Dr Bruce Webber at CSIRO’s Ecosystem Change Ecology Team to ensure our research has relevant on-the-ground applications. At UWA Samuel also collaborated with the Centre for Evolutionary Biology, the national leader in evolutionary expertise.

Samuel completed his PhD with Prof Leigh Simmons and Assoc Prof Joseph Tomkins at UWA, working on the social evolution of sexual conflict. He then took up a postdoctoral position at the University of Exeter in the UK with Prof David Hosken and Prof Nina Wedell, where he worked on social effects on female mate choice and alternative reproductive tactics.

ResearchingBehavioural ecology
AffiliatedUniversity of Western Australia|
Focus areaPlanet