About Ants, Bees & Wasps @ VUW

This site is a blog for research on ant, bees and wasp research at Victoria University. Our group is located in Wellington, New Zealand. Group members are encouraged to post items and links to topics related to social insect biology and ecology.

Contact me at Phil.Lester@vuw.ac.nz

A little about me?
I’m an entomologist and ecologist. I have been with Victoria University of Wellington since 2001. My research program involves work on a range of social insect biology and ecology. More recently I have begun a focus on pathogens and their role in social insect population dynamics including invasion, abundance, and periodic collapse. I sit on the editorial boards of several journals including Biological Invasions, Myrmecological News, the New Zealand Journal of Ecology, and Oecologia.
I teach a range of classes including first year biology, behaviour and conservation at the third year level, a history of science paper, and a graduate course in behaviour.

Recent publications include:

Gruber MAM, Hoffmann BD, Ritchie PA, Lester PJ. 2012. Genetic diversity is positively associated with fine-scale momentary abundance of an invasive ant. Ecology & Evolution 2: 2091-2105.

Sebastien A, Gruber MAM & Lester PJ. 2012. Prevalence and genetic diversity of three bacterial endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Arsenophonus, and Rhizobiales) associated with the invasive yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes). Insectes Sociaux 59: 33-40.

Cooling M, Hartley S, Sim DA, Lester PJ. 2012. The widespread collapse of an invasive species: Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in New Zealand. Biology Letters 8: 430-433.

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.

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.

Lester PJ, Stringer LD & Haywood J. 2010. The role of resource dispersion in promoting the co-occurrence of dominant and subordinate ant species. Oikos 119: 659–668.

Hartley S, Krushelnycky PD & Lester PJ. 2010. Integrating physiology, population dynamics and climate to make multi-scale predictions for the spread of an invasive insect: the Argentine ant at Haleakala National Park, Hawaii. Ecography 33: 83–94.

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