Ashley Ward


Although I’ve always been fascinated by biology, I actually came into science quite late, starting my degree in zoology at the University of Leeds in 1996, when I was in my mid-20s. Over the course of the degree though, I started to realise that my naturalist's passion for animal behaviour could become the basis for a scientific research career. To achieve that, I did my PhD on the social behaviour of fish, again at the University of Leeds, before moving to Leicester to be a post-doctoral researcher, again in animal behaviour.

Throughout my time as a researcher, I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world to study animals and to interact with other researchers, so it’s perhaps not surprising that I left the UK to come to the University of Sydney in 2007.

Timothy Schaerf

Timothy Schaerf picture

I study a broad range of problems in collective animal behaviour with the aid of mathematical models. The current focus of my research is to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the coherent collective motion of a diverse range of animal groups including humans, fish and honey bees

Before studying collective animal behaviour I was a PhD student in applied mathematics at the University of Sydney. I studied the motion of large scale vortices, primarily using the efficient Contour-Advective Semi-Lagrangian (CASL) method (with my supervisor, Charlie Macaskill).

Roseanna Love

Roseanna Love photo

Rose is on a training scheme, performing experiments in animal behaviour including the effects of early life experience on adult behaviour and decision-making by groups under predation threat.

Current PhD Students

Matt Hansen

Matt Hansen photo

After completing my honours on the collective behavior of locusts at the University of Sydney in 2010, I spent a few months living underwater transfixed by the movement of fish shoals.

I decided that fish would be a great system to study the dynamics of group movement. My PhD project explores the costs and benefits of animal aggregation and focuses on foraging and movement decisions in shoals of mosquitofish.

Alicia Burns

Alicia Burns photo

After studying shoaling behaviour and group decision making during my Honours year I became fascinated with how individuals with starkly different behavioural tendencies or ‘personalities’ can still function as cohesive groups.

This led me to a PhD looking at the functions and mechanisms of animal personalities and the way in which individual variation in behaviour affects the behaviour of a group or population.

Past Lab Members

  • Therese Chen
  • Dr James ‘Teddy’ Herbert-Read
  • Dr Alex Jordan
  • Deluxmi Logendran
  • Kieran MacKenzie
  • Anna O'Brien
  • Phoebe O'Leary
  • Amelia Reid
  • Douglas Roy
  • Song-Hee Schumacher
  • Melissa Wong
  • Shirley Zhu