~ community ecology of plants and pollinators in a changing climate ~

Welcome to the Rafferty Pollination Ecology Lab in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne.

Research in the lab focuses on the community ecology of plants and pollinators in a changing climate.

We use experiments, long-term and historical data, and observations of natural variation to understand how climate change is affecting plants, pollinators, and their interactions.

Collectively, the lab group has studied diverse topics related to plants and pollinators, some of which are described below. Our fieldwork has taken us to many different habitats, including tallgrass prairies, subalpine and alpine meadows, and semi-arid montane ecosystems. We often use growth chambers, greenhouses, and flight cages in our research.

swamp milkweed with bumble bee

How do climate change-driven shifts in flowering time affect plant-pollinator interactions?

Lanszwert's sweetpea

How do warming and drought affect the tripartite mutualism among wild legumes, rhizobia, and solitary bees?

cactus with bee

How is phenological synchrony changing for bees and flowers in dryland ecosystems?

flight cages in greenhouse

How does warming affect experimental communities of wildflowers and solitary bees?

alpine avens in snow

How does earlier snowmelt affect alpine wildflower flowering phenology and interactions with pollinators?

pointleaf manzanita with bee

How are changing climatic conditions altering flowering phenology across elevational gradients?

All photos by Nicole Rafferty, except: alpine avens in snow by Annika Rose-Person; cactus with bee by Natasha de Manincor.