Chemical Communication

Chemical signal exploitation in predator prey interactions


Signaling lies at the heart of behavioural and evolutionary ecology, being the primary means by which animals choose mates and socialise. Yet social signals are open to eavesdropping enemies, including predators which may use prey cues to improve their foraging. In Australia, prey naiveté to alien predators is one reason why invasive species have been so devastating, yet we know little of how predators find their prey. Our research aims to develop a new understanding about the exploitation of social signals by both predator and prey. In doing so we aim to generate new theory on the reactive foraging behaviour of predators and use this theory to solve conservation problems.

Recent Projects
  • Catherine Price (PhD UNSW 2012) Novel strategies to protect prey from alien predation
  • Blake Snedden (Hons UNSW 2011) The effects of black rat habituation to cameras and traps
  • Viyanna Leo (Hons UNSW 2010) Olfactory communication between bush rats and swamp rats
  • Nelika Hughes (PhD UNSW 2009) Signal exploitation in house mouse predator prey interactions
  • Rowena Hamer (Hons UNSW 2009) Chemical signaling in Myxophes interatus
  • Alexandra Carthey (Hons UNSW 2007) Spatial gradients in prey cues and the foraging success of an olfactory predator
  • Ben Russell (PhD UNSW 2006) The ecology of alien and native predator and
    prey behavioural interactions amongst Australian mammals
  • Jenna Bytheway (Hons UNSW 2005) Protecting prey with chemical camouflage

Dr. Jennifer Kelley (Post Doc UNSW), Dr. Hannu Ylönen (University of Jyväskylä), Dr. Clare McArthur (USYD)