Cum Laude 2022

Thesis Title: Venom Chemistry and Ecology of Australian Scorpions

Abstract: Doctor Evans studied multiple Australian scorpion species, focussing on poorly understood aspects of scorpion venom chemistry and ecological drivers of venom variation. Novel peptides were characterised, and small molecules identified from scorpion venoms. Additionally, venom variation associated with ontogeny, sex, and defensive venom use was described.

Advisory Panel: Doctor David Wilson, Professor Norelle Daly and Doctor Tobin Northfield

Thesis Title: Quaternary evolutionary persistence of Southern Ocean benthic taxa

Abstract: Doctor Lau explored the evolutionary histories of Southern Ocean benthic taxa using genetics, particularly how persisting through the physical processes of the Quaternary, have influenced their past species demographic histories. Using evolutionary genetics, historical Antarctic ice sheet configuration can be reconstructed which is crucial for global sea level rise projections.

Advisory Panel: Professor Jan Strugnell and Doctor Catarina Silva

Thesis Title: limatic variability and the vulnerability of rainforest biota to a warming world

Abstract: Doctor Leahy investigated climatic exposure and climate change vulnerability of ants along arboreal and elevation gradients in the Australian Wet Tropics. Lily found that the vertical structure of rainforest trees provides distinct microclimates that shape climate change resilience. This has implications for predicting climate change impacts in vertically stratified environments.

Advisory Panel: Professor Stephen Williams, Professor Lin Schwarzkopf and Doctor Ben Hirsch

Thesis Title: Ecology and population genomics of Aedes Albopictus in the Torres Strait, Australia

Abstract: Doctor Swan studied ways to improve surveillance and control of the tiger mosquito in the Torres Strait. He found that tiger mosquitoes disperse frequently between islands, optimised a trap to capture tiger mosquitoes and investigated tiger mosquito sugar-feeding behaviour.

Queensland Health may utilise these findings to improve current surveillance and control for tiger mosquitoes.

Advisory Panel: Professor Thomas Burkot, Doctor Tanya Russell and Doctor Matthew Field

Thesis Title: The effects of vessel noise on the anti-predator behaviour of juvenile reef fishes

Abstract: Doctor Velasquez Jimenez investigated the effects of vessel noise on reef fishes. She found that the noise produced by ships and small boats affected the anti-predator behaviour of juvenile fishes, moreover boat noise had long-term effects on growth. These results suggest that vessel noise has the potential of compromising the survival of juvenile fishes.

Advisory Panel: Professor Geoffrey Jones and Doctor Jennifer Donelson

Thesis Title: Behind Tourist Scams: Understanding Practice and Decision Making

Abstract: Doctor Xu explored the practice of scamming and tourists' decision-making in an encounter with scams. He identified critical features of scamming operations, and unveiled tourists' vulnerability and ways of thinking. These findings can aid destination managers to design tourist protection programmes, and help tourists to enhance self-

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Laurie Murphy and Doctor Tingzhen Chen

Thesis Title: Assessing the sustainability of multispecies coral reef fisheries around the globe

Abstract: By estimating context-specific sustainable reference points for coral reef fish, Dr Zamborain Mason assessed the sustainability status of reef fisheries at global scales. She found that over 70% of locations have past at least one sustainable reference point. Overall, Jessica uncovers pathways to assess and help sustainably manage data-poor multispecies coral reef fisheries.

Advisory Panel: Professor Sean Connolly and Professor Joshua Cinner