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    ABC winner profile: Alba Cervantes Loreto: Best PhD Journal article

    Friday, November 19, 2021

    Lab Supply sponsored two prizes at the recently concluded University of Canterbury Annual Biology Conference - Best Journal Article by a PhD Student and Most Innovative Research. Supporting science and discovery through encouraging young scientists in their research pursuits is our way of giving back to the science community we work alongside.

    Alba Cervantes Loreto, PhD candidate in Ecology, is the winner of the Best Journal Article by a PhD Student, for her article titled ‘The context dependency of pollinator interference: How environmental conditions and co-foraging species impact floral visitation’.

    Her study explores how environmental conditions and the presence of other species change the behaviour of pollinators. The research applied a framework to examine the roles of pollinator–pollinator interactions in a unique foraging experiment that allowed resource availability and sublethal exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide to modify how pollinators forage alone and with co-foragers.

    It is critical to determine just how prevalent interference or facilitation between pollinator species is in nature, says Alba, to further understand how species loss could affect pollinator populations.

    The research attempts to bridge the gap in knowledge in understanding the impact of interactions between pollinators in natural communities – by arguing for the need to determine the environmental context in which these interactions occur to effectively interpret when and why those interactions change the course of plant and pollinator populations.

    We met Alba to talk about her research and what her next steps are post winning the award.

    What does winning the award mean to you?

    It means the recognition of a great collaborative project. It took a lot of effort from me and my collaborators to get this paper out, and it is great to see it having an impact in the scientific community!

    How do you see your research creating an impact in society and the scientific world?

    Hopefully, my research will continue to show how to combine theory and data to improve our understanding of species interactions – through providing ecologists the theoretical and statistical tools to quantify the effects of other species in both experimental and observational studies. I also believe the projects I am working on will contribute to the growing body of work focused on understanding how diversity is maintained at different scales.

    What’s next for you and your research?

    The immediate next step for me is to submit my thesis. I have been doing a Ph.D. for the last three years, and I am excited to see the outcome of years of hard work! I still have two more papers from my Ph.D. I want to publish, so I will be focusing on that in the years to come.


    ABC winner 2021 - Alba