ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR LAB

Research Opportunities in the Animal Behaviour Lab

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PhD Students

I am always happy to receive enquiries either from within Australia, or beyond, from enthusiastic and hard-working people who are interested in studying for a PhD. The research topics for any new PhD student would likely be focussed on one of our four main areas of research: social and collective behaviour; learning and information use; recognition and communication; and, the integration of behaviour and physiology. Within these broad areas, I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss with each student how their research plan can best be designed to fit with their interests.

Honours Students

We typically work with between two and three honours students per year in the Animal Behaviour Lab. The following are potential honours projects for new honours students:

  • How do groups of animals make collective decisions and achieve consensus?
  • How do localised interactions between individuals scale up to produce large scale collective behaviour?
  • How do the different sexes adjust their courtship and sexual behaviour according to their social environment and the presence of risk?
  • Physiology is a key driver of many aspects of animal behaviour. How does an animal’s physiology link to its risk-taking behaviour?

But rather than being excessively prescriptive in terms of the projects offered, I also invite potential honours students to propose research topics. Once you’ve decided on an area of animal behaviour that particularly interests you, we can then discuss how to make this into an exciting and ultimately successful honours project.

The following represents a selection of recent honours projects undertaken in the Animal Behaviour Lab:

  • How do groups learn, and how is this affected by the size and the composition of the group? (Kieran MacKenzie, Honours 2010)
  • Which sensory cues do fish use to recognise one another? (James Herbert-Read, Honours 2008)
  • Can fish reared in aquaculture learn how to fend for themselves? (Amelia Reid, Honours 2009)
  • How do mosquitofish chose their mates? (Therese Chen, Honours 2010)
  • How do animals collect information from their environment, and how do they balance inputs from difference sensory cues? (Deluxmi Logendran 2010)
  • What characteristics make an effective leader in animal social groups? (Alicia Burns 2011)
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