Anna Dorling

Research Interests

I am a behavioural biologist. My research interest and experience is concentrated in chemical ecology, with a particular focus on insects. Bees forage on floral nectar for nutrition, and are exceptionally capable of learning to find, collect and store it. However, nectar sometimes contains psychoactive substances which can influence these behaviours by interfering with reward perception, possibly to the benefit of plants. Caffeine, for example, found in the nectar of Coffea and Citrus species, amplifies the rewarding properties of sugars in nectar, increasing the likelihood of conspecific pollen transfer between flowers. My project collects evidence for drugs in nectar as a co-evolved trait in plant-pollinator interactions. Specifically, I am combining behavioural and chemical (LC-MS) approaches to investigate the distribution, concentration and composition of nectar nutrients and potential drugs within the nectar of several targeted plant species.

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