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Behaviour, Evolutionary Ecology & Physiology  (BEEP LAB)

I have a longstanding interest in sexual selection, sexual conflict, and reproductive biology. Over the past few years, my research has expanded taking a more comprehensive and integrated approach to understand my study systems' "unabridged" evolutionary ecology--to do this one needs to know their study organisms well. Of course, this task cannot be done alone, so students and collaborators are the key to success. 

Currently, we are working to understand the eco-evolutionary processes responsible for the geographic variation in sexually selected colouration, body size, and sexual size dimorphism (and possible differences in age and ageing rates) of the wide-ranging Australian painted dragon lizards (Ctenophorus pictus). We are leveraging geographic variation in life history and sexually selected traits along substantial temperature/aridity clines to determine how thermal adaptation might influence selection and mediate physiological tradeoffs between characters and between character states. We conduct our research in the field and at UOW's Ecological Research Centre.


We also maintain ongoing collaborations working on red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis), which also bridges between environmental effects and sexual selection and the costs of reproduction.

Our research uses an integrative approach focusing on behaviour, physiology, genetics and reproductive ecology to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary topics, such as:

  • Sexual selection (from intrasexual competition and mate choice to sperm competition and cryptic female choice)

  • Tradeoffs between pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection

  • Oxidative stress and telomere dynamics 

  • Energetic costs of behaviour and reproduction

  • The evolution of sexually-dimorphic behavior and morphology

  • The evolution of life history traits- especially physiological underpinnings of sex-specific and alternative reproductive tactics effects on ageing

  • Thermal effects on the expression and the evolution of sexually selected and life history traits

  • Intersexual co-evolutionary processes generated by postcopulatory sexual selection/conflict on genital interactions/function (and behaviors).

  • I am also interested in "classic" ecology, e.g., the influences of predation, parasitism, inter- and intraspecific competition and niche partitioning on the evolution of my focal species across their range 

Male painted dragon cooling off surveying his territory
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"Mate choice" of an aggressive male
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Bob Mason, Oregon State University

Brianna Beechler, Oregon State University

Camilla Whittington, University of Sydney

Catherine Grueber, University of Sydney

Dan Noble, Australian National University

Deb Lutterschmidt, University of California, Irvine

Denis O’Meally, Beckman Research Institute

Don Powers, George Fox University

Emily Uhrig, University of Maine

Erik Wapstra, University of Tasmania (BEER group)

Frank Seebacher, University of Sydney

Heather Waye, University of Minnesota at Morris

Joanna Sudyka, University of Warsaw

Mark Wilson, University of Wollongong, IHMRI

Mathieu Giraudeau, CREEC, France

Mats Olsson, University of Gothenburg

Matt Dean, University of Southern California

M. Rockwell Parker, James Madison University

Nathan Clark, University of Utah

Patty Brennan, Mount Holyoke College

Phil Byrne, University of Wollongong (EARL group)

Randy Krohmer, St. Xavier University

Rick Shine, Macquarie University

Simon de Graaf, University of Sydney

Steve Arnold, Oregon State University

Suzanne Estes, Portland State University

N Rollings

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_DSC8062_Innes NP male .jpg
_DSC5131_Mul Sta male_edited.jpg
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