Postgraduate Research

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of my research, I welcome prospective postgraduate students (Masters or PhD) in biology, psychology, or cognitive science who might pursue other topics of study. The range of my research encompasses invertebrate and vertebrate animals, including humans. A flavour can be gleaned from perusing my web page. Prospective students are welcome to suggest topics in comparative cognition and animal behaviour to do research on.


Animal Behaviour Research Facilities

I am located in the Biology Research Park, a beautiful strip of grass and trees that also houses diverse animals. Native birds and lizards, fish, honeybees, native bees, and diverse arthropods live in these well maintained facilities. A sea-water facility has just been built. We have fresh-water facilities as well. We have outdoor enclosures, transparent to all wavelengths of natural light, for experimentation on arthropods in semi-natural settings.

The lab building, a comfortable small house with a functional kitchen, is surrounded by a lawn with many plants and visited by wildlife. Each postgraduate student is supplied with a desktop or laptop computer in a shared office, as well as access to shared computer workstations that provide more and diverse facilities for research. These include scanner/photocopier, image software, video analysis systems, and sound analysis systems. We also have state-of-the-art facilities for neurobiology. Students of animal behaviour inhabit the compound in which my lab and office are found.


In promoting research excellence, Macquarie University offers scholarships for prospective postgraduate students from anywhere in the world. Please contact me if you are interested.

Some possible topics

Urban ethology of flying foxes

This is a new venture, made possible by a current student, Tim Pearson, who has great expertise on these animals, and who has forged needed connections for conducting research on the animals.

Bull ants on campus

These ants, of the genus Myrmecia are huge in size for ants. They are found on campus. Their foraging activities consist of heading to one customary tree. We have only begun to study some of these and have a lot to learn.

Honeybees on campus

My colleague Andrew Barron has bee hives on campus, and prospective students could study their learning and behaviour.

Australian Desert Ants Melophorus bagoti

Melophorus bagoti is an Australian desert ant. It is very thermophilic (heat loving). In collaboration with Rüdiger Wehner, we have made a good start by now in studying these animals. Work takes place in the Australian summer (November to March) in Central Australia, near Alice Springs. It is hot field work in the blazing heat.

See Melophorus page for a flavour.

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