The ecological consequences of sociality
Social species can be very successful in their environment, however that is often at the detriment of other taxa. This is an ongoing theme in the lab where we have examined the impacts of social species monopolizing resources on biodiversity and vegetative health. Much of the research in this area has utilised Manorina honeyeaters as focal species, thanks to their rich social system and despotic ways. Noisy Miners and Bell Miners in particular are very successful in excluding other taxa, particularly small species, through coordinated defence of the areas that their colonies occupy. Both species are having a major impact on biodiversity, and this is part of a research theme that lab members are examining with other researchers thanks to funding bodies such as the Office of Environment and Heritage and the NSW Environmental Trust.
For more information, contact Assoc. Prof. Paul McDonald