Macroecology and macroevolution
Macquarie University
John Alroy's lab at Macquarie University

The Higher Degree Research students currently associated with my lab include:

  • Tom Clarke (ecomorphology of Recent and fossil spiders)
  • Matt Kerr (macrecology of Australian molluscs)
  • Amy Tims (macroecology of Australian freshwater fishes)
  • Anikó T&oactute;th (patterns of community assembly)

Formerly associated students include:

  • Diego Barneche (macroecology of coral reef fishes; supervisor Josh Madin)
  • Nick Chan (evolution of flightless birds and other theropods; supervisor me)
  • Julieta Martinelli (latitudinal gradients in Australian molluscs; supervisor Matthew Kosnik)
  • Silvia Pineda Muñoz (diet and ecomorphology of mammals; co-supervisors me and Al Evans)

University of Leeds faculty member Graeme Lloyd was also affiliated with my group as an ARC DECRA postdoctoral fellow.

I'm currently looking for both Australian and international graduate students and I'm eager to work with applicants for ARC DECRA, Endeavour, and MQRF postdoctoral fellowships. We have a two-year Master of Research (MRes) program and a three-year PhD program. I have no direct control over student funding at the moment, but I can endorse applications for university-wide scholarships or nationally funded Endeavour Scholarships that normally start in January each year. As for Macquarie, it funds domestic students under the APA scheme and international students under the IPRS scheme. Because year 1 of the MRes isn't funded by scholarships, the two normal pathways are to either go directly into the PhD program (if you already have a two-year master's) or to go into the second year of the MRes program and then on to the PhD program (if you have completed an honour's thesis, one-year master's, or equivalent). Strong grades and high IELTS scores are essential for scholarship applicants.

Please note that I'm looking for highly self-motivated students who will ultimately choose their own projects. I find any and all taxonomic groups interesting, but I would expect any student working with me to pick a topic in the area of macroecology of macroevolution.

These projects typically have to do with species attributes and/or community attributes. Species attributes include phylogenetic relationships, body mass, morphological dimensions, metabolic rate, diet and trophic level, locomotor category, intrinsic rate of increase, population density, home range size, geographic range size, latitude, or IUCN Red List category. Community attributes include distributions or averages of the above attributes across species (such as mean body mass), abundance distributions, species richness, beta diversity, spatial scaling, latitude, and local climate. A typical study would involve, say, a group with about 100 species or a data set with about 100 samples. Or more.

So, in formulating a project one would normally pick at least one taxonomic group and at least two attributes and see how you can relate those attributes to each other. It doesn't matter if the data will be primarily palaeontological or primarily ecological.

In addition, I myself am currently interested in topics such as quantifying contemporary extinction rates and latitudinal diversity gradients.

If you are interested in joining our group, please do contact me. Attach a CV and transcripts and describe potential topics for a research project. Because I teach only at the second- and third-year levels, only students already having a strong background in organismal biology and data analysis methods should consider applying.

As a student or postdoc here you would be housed in the Macquarie Palaeobiology Lab along with members of the Glenn Brock and Matthew Kosnik's groups. Although my work is mostly analytical, our shared lab space has standard equipment and facilities for collecting and preparing fossil and Recent specimens. Not to mention the usual computational resources associated with the Ecological Register operations I oversee. And a Rancilio Silvia.

In addition, our department houses faculty members such as Drew Allen, Josh Madin, Ian Wright, and many others with strong interests in macroecology and macroevolution. With all due respect and no pun intended, our department really rocks!