Each year the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) offers a postgraduate student research award. The Wiley Fundamental Ecology Award is worth $5,000 and can be used for any research that advances the science of ecology. Hotly contested, this national award was recently awarded to the University of Western Australia (Albany) PhD student Nicole Bezemer.
“My project is titled ‘Sex on the rocks: genetic consequences of bird pollination and population insularity in Eucalyptus caesia’. I’m investigating the contribution that nectar-feeding birds and insects make to pollination and mating patterns, for a eucalypt with naturally small, fragmented populations. Sex on the rocks may sound uncomfortable – but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it – and Eucalyptus caesia has been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years,’’ said Ms Bezemer.
As part of the award, Ms Bezemer will have the opportunity to attend the ESA conference in 2019 to share her findings in a half-hour presentation.
As part of her research, Ms Bezemer is also investigating how E. caesia’s geographical isolation and random catastrophic events such as wildfire affect its population on granite outcrops.
Her research will help inform the genetic management of small, naturally isolated groups of eucalypts and endemic plants on granite outcrops.
“Ms Bezemer is a gifted plant evolutionary geneticist and her success is reflective of her outstanding research skills. She has also been a recipient three years in a row of Holsworth Wildlife Research awards from the Ecological Society of Australia,” said co-supervisor Professor Stephen Hopper AC.
Ms Bezemer’s project is also supervised by Adjunct Professor Siegfried Krauss from the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and UWA’s Dr David Roberts.
Paula Phillips (UWA Albany Manager) +61 8 9842 0810