Prof Phil Lester
School of Biological Sciences
Phone: 04 463 5096
Location: Room 516A, New Kirk Building, Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus
I work on the population dynamics and ecology of social insects. Invasive ants and social wasps in the Pacific region are a particular focus. More recently my group has started examining the role of pathogens in social insect population dynamics, and we have also begun work on honey bees as a model system for understanding pathogen and host interactions. We are examining interactions between bacteria and viruses in honey bees as a method of mitigating the effects of parasitic Varroa mites. Our research projects integrate a range of techniques including statistical modelling procedures, isotopes, and molecular genetic analyses.
Burne AR, Haywood J, Lester PJ. 2015. Density-dependent effects of an invasive wasp on the morphology of an endemic New Zealand ant. Biological Invasions 17: 327-335.
Lester PJ, Gruber MAM, Brenton-Rule EC, Archer M, Corley JC, Dvorak L, Masciocchi M, Van Oystaeyen A. 2014. Determining the origin of invasions and demonstrating a lack of enemy release from microsporidian pathogens in common wasps (Vespula vulgaris). Diversity & Distributions 20: 964-974.
Roura-Pascual N, Huia C, Ikeda T, Leday G, Richardson DM, Carpintero S, Espadaler X, Gómez C, Guénard B, Hartley S, Krushelnycky P, Lester PJ, McGeoch MA, Menke SB, Pedersen JS, Pitt JPW, Reyes J, Sanders NJ, Suarez AV, Touyama Y, Ward D, Ward PS & Worner SP. 2011. Relative roles of climatic suitability and anthropogenic influence in determining the pattern of spread in a global invader. PNAS 108: 220–225.
Grangier J, Lester PJ. 2011. A novel interference behaviour: invasive wasps remove ants from resources and drop them from a height. Biology Letters 7: 664-667.