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

The students currently associated with my lab include:

  • Diego Barneche (macroecology of coral reef fishes; supervisor Josh Madin)
  • Nick Chan (evolution of body mass in flightless birds; supervisor me)
  • Julieta Martinelli (latitudinal gradients in Australian molluscs; supervisor Matthew Kosnik)
  • Silvia Pineda Muñoz (community paleoecology of Old World and Australian mammals; co-supervisors me and Al Evans)

ARC DECRA postdoctoral fellow Graeme Lloyd is also affiliated with my group.

I'm currently looking for both Australian and international graduate students and I'm eager to work with applicants for ARC DECRA 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 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 or equivalent). Strong grades 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, measurements of hard parts, body size, 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 assessing captive breeding programs.

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 Fossilworks operations I oversee. And a Rancilio Silvia.

In addition, our department houses faculty members such as Drew Allen, Lesley Hughes, David Nipperess, Mark Westoby, and many others with strong interests in macroecology and macroevolution. With all due respect and no pun intended, our department really rocks!