ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Manu Sanders

ILWS PhD Graduate


Wild pollinator communities of commercial almond plantations and native woodland in a semi-arid Australian landscape: implications for conservation of insects and ecosystem services


Dr Manu SaundersDr Manu Saunders graduated in 2014. She began her PhD in March 2010 under principal supervisor Associate Professor Gary Luck.  After graduating she worked with Gary as a post-doc researcher on Predicting the delivery of ecosystem services in agriculture landscapes project Project details.  In 2017  Manu moved to take up a position as  Lecturer in Ecology and Biology - School of Environmental and Rural Science University of New England.

Her research focuses on community ecology and ecosystem services She is particularly interested in how insects create functional links between habitats and people, and how land use change and agricultural management influences biodiversity and ecosystem processes at local and landscape scales.  She is also interested in the practice and effectiveness of science communication.


Peer Reviewed papers

Saunders, M.E. & Luck, G.W. (2016) Combining costs and benefits of animal activities to assess net yield outcomes in apple orchards. PLOS One. 11(7): e0158618

Saunders, M.E. & Luck, G.W. (2016) Limitations of the ecosystem services versus disservices dichotomy. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12740

Smith, T.J. & Saunders, M.E.  (2016) Honey bees: the queens of mass media, despite minority rule among insect pollinators. Insect Conservation and Diversity. doi: 10.1111/icad.12178

Peisley, R.K., Saunders, M.E. & Luck, G.W. (2016) Cost-benefit trade-offs of bird activity in apple orchards, PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2179

Saunders, M. E., Peisley, R.K., Rader, R. & Luck, G.W. (2016) Pollinators, pests and predators: recognising ecological trade-offs in agroecosystems. Ambio 45, 4-14.

Peisley, R.K., Saunders, M.E. & Luck, G.W. (2015) A systematic review of the benefits and costs of bird and insect activity in agroecosystems. Springer

Saunders, M.E. (2015) Stone structures as potential aggregation sites for coccinellids in managed landscapes. The Victorian Naturalist 132:86.88

Luck, G.W. & Saunders, M.E. (2015). Nature – how do I value thee? Let me count the ways. Wildlife Australia, Autumn, 38-39

Saunders, M.E. (2015) Lost in a floral desert, Wildlife Australia, Autumn, 10-13

Saunders, M.E.(2015) Resource connectivity for beneficial insects in landscapes dominated by monoculture tree crop plantations. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

Saunders, M.E., Luck, G.W., (2014) Spatial and temporal variation in pollinator community structure relative to a woodland-almond plantation edge. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, doi: 10.1111/afe.12067

Luck, G.W., Spooner, P.G., Watson, D.M., Watson, S.J., Saunders, M.E. (2014) Interactions between almond plantations and native ecosystems: lessons learned from north-western Victoria. Ecological Management and Restoration 15:4-15.

Saunders, M.E., Luck, G.W., Mayfield, M.M. (2013) Almond orchards with living ground cover host more wild insect pollinators. Journal of Insect Conservation, 17:1011-1025.

Saunders, M.E., Luck, G.W., (2013) Pan trap catches of pollinator insects vary with habitat. Australian Journal of Entomology, 52:106-113.

Dhileepan, K., Trevino, M., Bayliss, D., Saunders, M., McCarthy, J., Shortus, M., Walter, G. (2010) Introduction and establishment of Carvalhotingis visenda (Hemiptera: Tingidae) as a biological control agent for cat's claw creeper Macfadyena unguis-cati (Bignoniaceae) in Australia. Biological Control, 55:58-62.

Book Chapters

Saunders, M., Cunningham, S. & Rader, R. (2-016)   Chapter 3. Agricultural Beescapes in Australian Native Bees, AgGuide series published by NSW Department of Primary Industries.


Saunders, M.E. (2016) Out There: Beyond the birds and the bees, Wildlife Australia. (Winter) 4-6

Conference Papers

Saunders, M. (2015) Net outcomes of ecological interactions between arthropods and crops, at Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference, Nov 29 to Dec 3, Adelaide, South Australia Saunders, M.(2105) Costs vs benefits of birds and insects in agricultural landscapes. Case study: Victorian apple orchards.6th Biodiversity Across the Borders Conference 2015, Federation University, Ballarat, June 12.Saunders, M. (2015) Lost in a floral desert, pp 246-250 in Nogrady,B. (Ed) The Best Australian Science Writing 2015, Newsouth Books, UNSW, Sydney

Completed Projects while with ILWS

Predicting the delivery of ecosystem services in agriculture landscapes, Luck, G. (2014-2017) ARC Discovery grant, $360,000 Project details


Bachelor of Arts (English literature; Journalism) University of Queensland, 2001
Bachelor of Environmental Sciences, Hons (Ecology) University of Queensland, 2008
Doctor of Philosophy, Charles Sturt University, 2014

Strategic Research Area

Biodiversity Conservation


July 2020