Associate Professor and Reader, University of Melbourne

I completed my BSc at the Australian National University with a major in biochemistry, but decided after a field trip to Kakadu National Park at the end of my degree that I would much rather spend my research career in the field than in the laboratory. My honours and PhD research was carried out under the supervision of Andrew Cockburn, teasing out aspects of the bizarre mating system of superb fairy-wrens. Five years of working on birds in a botanic garden whetted my appetite for wilder places and I embarked in 1992 on a six-month journey to explore Madagascar. I spent a year working as technical advisor to the World Wide Fund for Nature in southern Madagascar, then joined World Learning as academic director of two semester abroad programs, firstly in Botswana and then in Madagascar. I held an ARC postdoctoral fellowship at the ANU from 1996-1998 before joining the Department of Zoology as a lecturer in 1999. I was appointed as Senior Lecturer in 2004 and Associate Professor and Reader in 2007. I am currently Deputy Head of Department.

My primary research interest is in the evolution of social behaviour and unusual mating systems. To date, my research has involved projects with birds, and combine field studies of behaviour with the use of molecular markers to assign parentage. Specific areas of interest include sexual selection, sperm competition, the evolution of extra-pair fertilisations in birds and the evolution of sex-limited polymorphism.


  • –present
    Associate Professor and Reader, Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne


  • 1993 
    Australian National University, PhD
  • 1988 
    Australian National University, Bachelor of Science (Hons)

Research Areas

  • Behavioural Ecology (060201)
  • Evolutionary Biology (0603)
  • Zoology (0608)