Julia Bohorquez Rodriguez De Medina

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Companion biota associated with Leptospermum scoparium
(mānuka; Myrtaceae)

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Leptospermum scoparium (source of mānuka honey) is involved in crucial ecological interactions that might affect nectar production, and the New Zealand honey industry. Ms Bohórquez researched the diversity and potential effects of scale insects on mānuka, factors that might affect honey bee visitation, and mycorrhizal fungal diversity on cultivated and wild plants. Results revealed that the mānuka blight scale insect Acanthococcus orariensis has been replaced by the apparently more benign Acanthococcus campbelli and Acanthococcus leptospermi over the past 50 years. Nectar sugar, rather than nectar DHA and flower density, was the likely influencing factor on honey visitation. Leptospermum scoparium is associated with a richly diverse mycorrhizal fungal community that is naturally established on cultivated plants. This research concluded that even though L. scoparium is a complex system, there is further potential yield gains from a better understanding of the factors that influence nectar composition and of the mycorrhizal fungal associates.

Professor Alastair Robertson
Dr Jonathan Stephens
Associate Professor James Millner
Professor Richard Archer
Professor Patrick Biggs