Dr Carmen da Silva

Post-doctoral researcher

Thermal adaptation in Fijian highland bees

Endeavour Leadership Fellow: Monash University and The University of the South Pacific

Email: Carmen.dasilva@uq.net.au

Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carmen_Da_Silva3

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/salty_dasilva/?hl=en

Saving Nemo – Conservation Organisation: www.savingnemo.org



Research History

PhD: Thermal adaptation and acclimation in an intertidal fish (Bathygobius cocosensis) (Conferred July 2019), The University of Queensland, Supervisors: Robbie Wilson and Cynthia Riginos, Access my PhD thesis here: https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:8b04ff8

BSc Honours 1st: Social evolution in allodapine bees (graduated 2015), Flinders University, Supervisors: Michael Schwarz and Mark Stevens

BSc: Marine Biology (graduated 2014) Flinders University, South Australia


1.    Youngblood JP, da Silva CRB, Angilletta MJ Jr, VandenBrooks, JM (2019) Oxygen limitation does not drive the decreasing heat tolerance of grasshoppers during development. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. doi:10.1086/705439

2.    da Silva CRB, Wilson RS, Riginos C (2019) Rapid larval growth is costly for post-metamorphic thermal performance in a Great Barrier Reef fish. Coral Reefs. doi:10.1007/s00338-019-01815-7

3.    da Silva CRB, Riginos C, Wilson R (2019) An intertidal fish shows thermal acclimation despite living in a rapidly fluctuating environment. Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 189: 385-398

4.    Shokri Bousjein N, Staines M, Vo M, Puiu N, da Silva CRB, Harrington J, Wilkinson S, Pratt K, Schwarz MP (2017) Sex ratios in a socially parasitic bee and implications for host – parasite interactions. Journal of Insect Behaviour. doi: 10.1007/s10905-017-9603-7

5.    Silva DP, Groom SVC, da Silva CRB, Stevens MI, Schwarz MP (2016) Potential pollination maintenance by an exotic allodapine bee under climate change scenarios in the Indo-Pacific region. Journal of Applied Entomology.

6.    da Silva CRB, Stevens MI, Schwarz MP (2015) Casteless sociality in an allodapine bee and evolutionary losses of social hierarchies. Insectes Sociaux, doi: 10.1007/s0040-015-0436-0

7. da Silva CRB, Groom SVC, Stevens MI, Schwarz MP (2015) Current status of the introduced allodapine bee Braunsapis puangensis (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Fiji. Austral Entomology. doi: 10.1111/aen.12149

A little about me

I’m interested in how animals respond to changes in environment over intra- and intergenerational time scales. Animals can respond to changes in environment by behaviourally thermoregulating (e.g. hiding or migrating), acclimating (shifting their underlying physiology with changes in environmental condition), or by adapting over multiple generations. I am particularly interested in how thermal performance breadth (the range of temperatures an animal can perform in) and thermal acclimation capacity evolve together. I am also interested in how energy allocation during development can affect performance (like burst swimming speed and metabolism) in adult organisms. Developmental traits such as hatch size, growth rate and settlement size can be assessed using otoliths (fish ear bones). Otoliths are much like a tree, where each ring indicates a day in the larval fish’s life and the distance between rings indicates how much they grew each day. I studied these topics during my PhD where I used subtropical intertidal fish (Bathygobius cocosensis) as my study organism. 


Now I am researching how thermal tolerance evolves in Fijian bees. I did my honours on social evolution in Fijian bees back in 2014. When I did my honours, only four species of native Fijian bee were known. Over the past four years the Schwarz bee lab at Flinders University have been busy describing an additional 22 species of native Fijian bee. A majority of these bee species are restricted to high elevations in the Fijian highlands, but they are closely related to the species that are found in the lowland. For the rest of 2019 I will be assessing the thermal tolerance, desiccation resistance, and metabolic rate of many native Fijian bee species in low and high altitudes. I will compare the relationships between thermal tolerance, relatedness, altitude and environmental thermal variability to assess thermal tolerance evolution in Fijian highland bees.


Saving Nemo

I am currently the Queensland Project Coordinator for Saving Nemo. We are a not for profit group that focuses on marine ornamental conservation through education, citizen science, breeding programs and research. The release of Finding Nemo drastically increased sales of clownfish and other marine ornamental fish, which also increased collection from the wild for the aquarium trade. Increased collection from the reef adds pressure on marine ornamental populations and has even caused local extinctions in some areas. We are currently introducing anemone snorkel trials for citizen scientists at a variety of tropical locations. Check out what we’re all about at www.savingnemo.org.