Brosi Lab

Understanding the causes and implications of native and managed bee declines.

Karen Bell

Postdoctoral Scholar


Ph.D., Entomology, University of Queensland, October 2004.

B.Biotechnology (Hons I), Flinders University of South Australia, November 1997.

Research Interests

My research investigates the evolution of plants and insects, using methods fromphylogeography, phylogenetics and DNA barcoding.

My Ph.D. research was based on insect phylogeography and evolutionary biology. This has been followed by a shift into plant-insect interactions and plant population genetics in my postdoctoral research. Recent research projects include:

  • Tracing the history of human-mediated dispersal of plant species around the Indian Ocean using population genetics.
  • Phyogenetics and phylogeography of Adansonia spp. (boababs)
  • Examining biogeographic patterns in the insect assemblages on Parkinsonia aculeata in its native range, to assist with surveys for biocontrol agents for invasive populations.

In my postdoctoral position at Emory University, I am developing methods for DNA barcoding of pollen.

Selected peer-reviewed publications

Bell, K.L., Heard, T.A., Ferrier, S., Manion, G. and van Klinken, R.D. (2013). The role of geography and environment in species turnover: Phytophagous arthropods on a Neotropical legume. Journal of Biogeography 40: 1755–1766. (DOI: 10.111/jbi.12102)

Pettigrew, J.D., Bell, K.L., Bhagwandin, A., Grinan, E., Jillani, N., Meyer, J., Wabuyele, E. and Vickers, C.E. (2012). Morphology, ploidy and molecular phylogenetics reveal a new diploid species from Africa in the baobab genus Adansonia (Malvaceae: Bombacoideae). Taxon 61 (6): 1240-1250.

Bell, K.L. and Philips, T.K. (2012). Molecular systematics and evolution of the Ptinidae (Coleoptera: Bostrichoidea) and related families. Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society 165: 88–108.

Bell, K.L., Heard, T.A. and Klinken, R.D. van (2011). Natural enemies of invasive Hymenachne amplexicaulis and its native congener in Australia and the potential for biological control. Biological Control 57: 130–137.

Bell, K.L., Moussalli, A., Moritz, C. and Yeates, D.K. (2007). Comparative phylogeography and speciation of dung beetles from the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest. Molecular Ecology 16: 4984–4998.