Bianca started her Master of Science this year and is co-supervised by Melodie McGeoch (Monash University). Bianca’s study aims to investigate beetle diversity on Acacia host plant species, along an environmental gradient (represented by decreasing rainfall), and determine the importance of climate on beetle morphology and assemblage structure. The arthropods in this study were collected over six seasons, along a 950km transect from sub-tropical north-eastern NSW to arid, central south-western NSW. Lab work is progressing well, with ordinal sorting completed and in the next few weeks Coleoptera will be sorted into higher taxa. Images will be taken of each voucher specimen and ImageJ will be used to measure key morphological features (e.g. total body length, head, thorax, legs). This data will be used to assess community and morphology differences along the gradient.
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