Dr Simon Tierney

Simon Tierney
Lecturer & Research Scientist
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

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.

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External Profiles

Dr Simon Tierney

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.

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

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Radio
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 Lecturer B University of Adelaide
2013 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

Journals

Year Citation
2017 Tierney, S., Friedrich, M., Humphreys, W., Jones, T., Warrant, E. & Wcislo, W. (2017). Consequences of evolutionary transitions in changing photic environments. Austral Entomology, 56, 1, 23-46. 10.1111/aen.12264
2017 Dew, R., Tierney, S. & Schwarz, M. (2017). Lack of ovarian skew in an allodapine bee and the evolution of casteless social behaviour. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, OnlinePubl, 1-20. 10.1080/03949370.2017.1313784
2016 Dew, R., Tierney, S. & Schwarz, M. (2016). Social evolution and casteless societies: needs for new terminology and a new evolutionary focus. Insectes Sociaux, 63, 1, 5-14. 10.1007/s00040-015-0435-1
2015 Rehan, S. M., Tierney, S. M. & Wcislo, W. T. (2015). Evidence for social nesting in Neotropical ceratinine bees. Insectes Sociaux, 62, 4, 465-469. 10.1007/s00040-015-0425-3
2015 Tierney, S., Cooper, S., Saint, K., Bertozzi, T., Hyde, J., Humphreys, W. & Austin, A. (2015). Opsin transcripts of predatory diving beetles: a comparison of surface and subterranean photic niches. Royal Society Open Science, 2, 1, 140386-1-140386-12. 10.1098/rsos.140386
2013 Smith, J., Chenoweth, L., Tierney, S. & Schwarz, M. (2013). Repeated origins of social parasitism in allodapine bees indicate that the weak form of Emery's rule is widespread, yet sympatric speciation remains highly problematic. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 109, 2, 320-331. 10.1111/bij.12043
2013 Tierney, S. M., Fischer, C. N., Rehan, S. M., Kapheim, K. M. & Wcislo, W. T. (2013). Frequency of social nesting in the sweat bee Megalopta genalis (Halictidae) does not vary across a rainfall gradient, despite disparity in brood production and body size. Insectes Sociaux, 60, 2, 163-172. 10.1007/s00040-012-0280-4
2012 Dew, R., Rehan, S., Tierney, S., Chenoweth, L. & Schwarz, M. (2012). A single origin of large colony size in allodapine bees suggests a threshold event among 50 million years of evolutionary tinkering. Insectes Sociaux, 59, 2, 207-214. 10.1007/s00040-011-0206-6
2012 Tierney, S., Sanjur, O., Grajales, G., Santos, L., Bermingham, E. & Wcislo, W. (2012). Photic niche invasions: phylogenetic history of the dim-light foraging augochlorine bees (Halictidae). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279, 1729, 794-803. 10.1098/rspb.2011.1355
2011 Schwarz, M., Tierney, S., Rehan, S., Chenoweth, L. & Cooper, S. (2011). The evolution of eusociality in allodapine bees: Workers began by waiting. Biology Letters, 7, 2, 277-280. 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0757
2010 Santos, L., Tierney, S. & Wcislo, W. (2010). Nest descriptions of Megalopta aegis (Vachal) and M. guimaraesi Santos & Silveira (Hymenoptera, Halictidae) from the Brazilian Cerrado = Descrição dos ninhos de Megalopta aegis (Vachal) e M. guimaraesi Santos & Silveira (Hymenoptera, Halictidae) do Cerrado. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 54, 2, 332-334. 10.1590/S0085-56262010000200018
2009 Tierney, S. & Schwarz, M. (2009). Reproductive hierarchies in the African allodapine bee Allodapula dichroa (Apidae; Xylocopinae) and ancestral forms of sociality. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 97, 3, 520-530. 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2009.01236.x
2009 Wcislo, W. & Tierney, S. (2009). Behavioural environments and niche construction: the evolution of dim-light foraging in bees. Biological Reviews, 84, 1, 19-37. 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2008.00059.x
2008 Tierney, S., Smith, J., Chenoweth, L. & Schwarz, M. (2008). Phylogenetics of allodapine bees: a review of social evolution, parasitism and biogeography. Apidologie, 39, 1, 3-15. 10.1051/apido:2007045
2008 Tierney, S. M., Gonzales-Ojeda, T. & Wcislo, W. T. (2008). Biology of a nocturnal bee, Megalopta atra (Hymenoptera: Halictidae; Augochlorini), from the Panamanian highlands. Journal of Natural History, 42, 27-28, 1841-1847. 10.1080/00222930802109124
2008 Tierney, S. M., Gonzales-Ojeda, T. & Wcislo, W. T. (2008). Nesting biology and social behavior of Xenochlora bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae: Augochlorini) from Perú. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 81, 1, 61-72. 10.2317/JKES-704.24.1
2008 Chenoweth, L., Fuller, S., Tierney, S., Park, Y. & Schwarz, M. (2008). Hasinamelissa: a new genus of allodapine bee from Madagascar revealed by larval morphology and DNA sequence data. Systematic Entomology, 33, 4, 700-710. 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2008.00432.x
2007 Smith, J., Tierney, S., Park, Y., Fuller, S. & Schwarz, M. (2007). Origins of social parasitism: The importance of divergence ages in phylogenetic studies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 43, 3, 1131-1137. 10.1016/j.ympev.2006.12.028
2007 Chenoweth, L., Tierney, S., Smith, J., Cooper, S. & Schwarz, M. (2007). Social complexity in bees is not sufficient to explain lack of reversions to solitary living over long time scales. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 7, 246, WWW 1-WWW 9. 10.1186/1471-2148-7-246
2006 Schwarz, M., Fuller, S., Tierney, S. & Cooper, S. (2006). Molecular phylogenetics of the exoneurine allodapine bees reveal an ancient and puzzling dispersal from Africa to Australia. Systematic Biology, 55, 1, 31-45. 10.1080/10635150500431148
2006 Aenmey, T., Tierney, S., Pillay, N. & Schwarz, M. (2006). Nesting biology of an African allodapine bee Braunsapis vitrea: female biased sex allocation in the absence of worker-like behavioural castes. ETHOLOGY ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 18, 3, 205-220. 10.1080/08927014.2006.9522708
2005 Schwarz, M., Tierney, S., Zammit, J., Schwarz, P. & Fuller, S. (2005). Brood provisioning and colony composition of a Malagasy species of Halterapis: Implications for social evolution in the allodapine bees (Hymenoptera : Apidae : Xylocopinae). ANNALS OF THE ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, 98, 1, 126-133. 10.1603/0013-8746(2005)098[0126:BPACCO]2.0.CO;2
2005 Fuller, S., Schwarz, M. & Tierney, S. (2005). Phylogenetics of the allodapine bee genus Braunsapis: historical biogeography and long-range dispersal over water. JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, 32, 12, 2135-2144. 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01354.x
2004 Schwarz, M. P., Tierney, S. M., Cooper, S. J. B. & Bull, N. J. (2004). Molecular phylogenetics of the allodapine bee genus Braunsapis: A-T bias and heterogeneous substitution parameters. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 32, 1, 110-122. 10.1016/j.ympev.2003.11.017
2003 Tierney, S. & Schwarz, M. (2003). Taxonomic description of allodapine bees from the Zanzibar archipelago, genus Macrogalea (Hymenoptera : Apidae). AFRICAN ENTOMOLOGY, 11, 2, 199-203.
2002 Tierney, S. M., Schwarz, M. P., Neville, T. & Schwarz, P. M. (2002). Sociality in the phylogenetically basal allodapine bee genus Macrogalea (Apidae: Xylocopinae): implications for social evolution in the tribe Allodapini. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 76, 2, 211-224. 10.1046/j.1095-8312.2002.00059.x
2000 Tierney, S. M., Cronin, A. L., Loussert, N. & Schwarz, M. P. (2000). The biology of Brevineura froggatti and phylogenetic conservatism in Australian allodapine bees (Apidae, Allodapini). INSECTES SOCIAUX, 47, 1, 96-97. 10.1007/s000400050016
1998 Neville, T., Schwarz, M. P. & Tierney, S. M. (1998). Biology of a weakly social bee, Exoneura (Exoneurella) setosa (Hymenoptera : Apidae) and implications for social evolution in Australian allodapine bees. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 46, 3, 221-234. 10.1071/ZO98002
1997 Tierney, S., Schwarz, M. & Adams, M. (1997). Social behaviour in an Australian allodapine bee Exoneura (Brevineura) xanthoclypeata (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Australian Journal of Zoology, 45, 4, 385-398. 10.1071/ZO97022

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2009 Wcislo, W. T. & Tierney, S. M. (2009). The evolution of communal behavior in bees and wasps: an alternative to eusociality. In J. Gadau & J. Fewell (Eds.), Organization of insect societies: from genomes to sociocomplexity (pp. 148-169). USA: Harvard University Press.
2006 Schwarz, M. P., Tierney, S. M. & Chapman, T. W. (2006). Phylogenetic analyses of life history traits in allodapine bees and social evolution.. In V. E. Kipyatkov (Ed.), Life Cycles of Social Insects: Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution. (pp. 147-155). St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg University Press.
1997 Neville, T., Schwarz, M. P. & Tierney, S. M. (1997). Life cycle and sociality in an Australian allodapine bee Exoneura (Exoneurella) setosa.. In V. E. Kipyatkov (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Colloquia on Social Insects: Volume 3-4 (pp. 239-246).
1997 Schwarz, M. P., Bull, N. J., Tierney, S. M., Cronin, A. L. & Reyes, S. G. (1997). Social evolution in Hymenoptera - insights from Australian allodapine bees.. In V. E. Kipyatkov (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Colloquia on Social Insects: Volume 3-4. (pp. 11-18). St. Petersburg: Russian Language Section, International Union for the Study of Social Insects; Socium, St. Petersburg.

Curated or Produced Public Exhibition or Events

Year Citation
2015 Tierney, S. M.; (2015); International Pint of Science Festival 2015 - Adelaide; http://pintofscience.com.au/events/adelaide/;
2014 Tierney, S. M.; (2014); The Bees Knees: The importance of pollinators and their recent decline; Science in the Pub Adelaide;

Internet Publications

Year Citation
2015 Tierney, S. M.; (2015); What blind beetles can teach us about evolution;
Position
Lecturer & Research Scientist
Phone
83138349
Fax
8313 4364
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Darling Building
Room Number
G 17
Org Unit
Genetics & Evolution

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