News from Past Scholars

November 2018

James Dorey

Playford Trust PhD scholar releases new book on Bees

2018 Playford Trust PhD Scholar, James Dorey, uses his photography to inform his studies, with a particular interest in bees, especially, native bees. His curiosity was sparked because of a macro lens and an assignment to collect insects. He found and photographed 34 different species of native been on a single tree in suburban Brisbane.

James was an Honours scholarship recipient in 2017 and the Trust is happy to endorse him with a second scholarship for his PhD research on the topic: Assessing cryptic species diversity of endemic bees in Fiji and their importance for agriculture and ecosystem conservation.

James recently launch his book: Bees of Australia: A photographic exploration at the South Australian Museum to a very engaged audience. His book is published by CSIRO Publishing and in it, James notes that while there are 1600 named bee species in Australia alone, estimates suggest there could be a total of 2000 to 3000 species.

At the book launch, James shared his research work and showed some impressive photographs of native bees and the habitats in which they were found. James’s PhD supervisor, Flinders University Professor Mike Lee (also a Senior Research Scientist at the Museum), expressed his delight at the valuable support that the Playford Trust scholarships have provided for James.

It took James 45 minutes to work through the line of people wanting him to sign their books, such was the high level of interest. We wish James well for his future research and for what it will do to expand knowledge in this important field.

What comes to mind when you think of a bee? If you only think of yellow, black and hairy then you are not quite there. Our Australian native bees come in all shapes, sizes and colours, sometimes all at once! This incredible iridescent Lassioglossum sp. collected this October in Central Australia is just one example of our stunning native bees.