Simon Tierney

Simon Tierney

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

I am an Evolutionary Ecologist interested in transitions in animal behaviour. I use molecular tool-kits to understand the interplay between whole organisms, their environment and their genes, with a focus on the evolution of insect social organisation and photic niche shifts. My PhD investigated allodapine bees that can switch between solitary and social lifestyles, and I then undertook a series of postdocs exploring neotropical halictine bees that are similarly social, but unusual in their habit of obligate nocturnal foraging. This latter research program developed a parallel interest in vision and my current postdoctoral research involves projects that use high-throughput sequencing to explore the regressive evolution of eye genes in subterranean water beetles; in addition to projects on differential gene expression between queen vs. worker castes and social parasites vs. their hosts (allodapine bees). I have considerable field experience in Australia, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

Behaviour, Ecology, Natural History, Vision, Molecular Evolution, Systematics, Biogeography.

ABC, Radio National, 28 January 2015.
RN Afternoons, live interview with Michael Mackenzie – “Blind beetles”

News Articles
Science Magazine, ScienceNow – news from Science, 26 July 2011  
ScienceShot: A buzz in the dark

ABC, Science Online - Ask an Expert, 18 March 2015
How does evolution explain animals losing vision? Doug Futuyma & Simon Tierney

The Conversation, Science + Technology, 5 February 2015
What blind beetles can teach us about evolution - Simon Tierney (invited contribution)

Entomology Today, Entomological Society of America, 30 January 2015.
Blind Cave Beetles Lack Eyes but Still Have Sight Genes

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2015 - ongoing Lecturer B University of Adelaide
    2013 - ongoing Postdoctoral Fellow University of Adelaide
    2005 - 2011 Postdoctoral Fellow Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    Spanish; Castilian Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2000 - 2005 Flinders University Australia PhD
    1994 - 1994 Flinders University Australia Honours
    1991 - 1993 Flinders University Australia BA
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Regressive Evolution of Vision and Speciation in the Subterranean Diving Beetles from Western Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Barbara Langille
    2014 - 2019 Co-Supervisor The systematics and biogeographic history of Australian arid zone oniscidean isopods (Philosciidae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Danielle Nicole Stringer

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