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Meeting September 16th: Ten years of Fijian bee research and why it could matter in Connecticut

Hello everyone!

Hopefully everyone had a great summer! Please join us on Friday, September 16th for our September meeting, kicking off the 2022-2023 year. Due to difficulties regarding in-person scheduling, the meeting will be held on Zoom, but we hope to return to in-person meetings with the October meeting. Please email for the Zoom information. We will begin with a pre-meeting social starting at 6:30, followed by the usual business meeting at 7:30 and the talk by our speaker. The talk will be screen shared. Afterward we will have a Q&A and members are free to hang around or leave at their leisure afterward. As always, the minutes for the previous meeting are on the website.

September's speaker will be Dr. James Dorey, giving a talk titled Ten years of Fijian bee research and why it could matter in Connecticut.

Abstract: More than being just a tourist destination, Fiji is home to some very interesting entomofauna. It’s no surprise then that it has a history of being used as an example for scientific theory. For example, Fiji’s ants were used to describe the taxon cycle model of speciation in 1961. Between 50 and 60 years later, the Fijian bees have provided empirical evidence of further advances in ecological and evolutionary theory. In this talk I will describe the history of bee work in Fiji while [probably] only trashing ants a little. I will discuss how we have used molecular techniques to go from four to almost 30 known species of Homalictus on Fiji. This amazing diversification provides clues into why such diversity has arisen from a single colonisation event. Furthermore, our data has provided a wonderful opportunity to examine the impacts of anthropogenic habitat modification. We have a lot to learn about what drives speciation and what impact people can have on insects from these bees. Finally, I will give a sneak-peak into upcoming work which links Fiji, Australia, the US, and maybe the world; hopefully, justifying the title of my talk.

Dr. Dorey's Bio: James Dorey is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Flinders University, Australia. As an evolutionary ecologist, James focuses on studying native bees around the world, but with a focus on the Oceanic fauna. James interrogates many questions about bees while synthesising holistic knowledge from life-histories to genetic and GIS data. Beyond being a researcher, he is also a professional photographer and works towards combining his science and images to better-engage and communicate with a broader audience.

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