Location: Room 248, Macleay Building A12 | Phone: 02 9351 2267 | Email: ros.gloag@sydney.edu.au

Biographical details

Dr Ros Gloag

I began researching the evolution, behaviour and genetics of bees as an Honours student here at the University of Sydney. I then undertook a PhD (Zoology) at the University of Oxford, U.K. investigating the evolution of parasitic birds (completed December 2012), followed by short postdocs at Oxford and the Australian National University in 2013. I returned to USyd to take up a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2014. In May 2018 I begin a Lectureship in Evolutionary Biology here in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Research interests

I am broadly interested in the evolution and ecology of animal behaviour. I use experimental fieldwork, molecular biology and mathematical models. My key study systems are birds and bees. Current research interests include:

  • Evolution, ecology and behaviour of invasive social insects
  • Genetics and ecology of asexual reproduction in social insects
  • Population genetics, behaviour and ecology of Australian stingless bees, including in the context of their role as pollinators
  • Coevolution of brood parasitic birds and their hosts

Teaching and supervision


  • Genetics & Genomics (MBLG2072/2972)
  • Special Studies Program in Life and Evolution (BIOL1996)

Current Supervision

  • Hee-Jin Noh, PhD: Coevolution in Australia's little bronze cuckoos and their hosts (ANU, co-supervised with N. Langmore)
  • Francisco Bueno, PhD: Australian native bees as alternative crop pollinators (USyd, co-supervised with T. Latty)

In the media

Nature News and Views, "Evolution: Insect invasions and natural selection" 539: 500–502, 24 November 2016.

The Scientist, "How an invasive bee managed to thrive in Australia", Jan 1, 2017.

Nature Behind the Paper: "Honey bee invaders show us balancing selection in action" November 2016.

The Conversation, "Cuckoos beat competition by laying cryptic eggs", August 13, 2014

The New York Times, “In a Bird’s Nest, An Animal Behaviour Puzzle” Dec 10, 2013

New Scientist, "To kill a mockingbird? No, to parasitise it." Dec 7 2011

Selected grants

Density and distribution of Australia's sugarbag bees; Gloag R, Oldroyd B; Australia & Pacific Science Foundation/Research Project Grant.

Asexual reproduction and social parasitism in honey bee invaders; Oldroyd B, Gloag R; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

Asexual reproduction and social parasitism in honey bee invaders; Gloag R, Beekman M; DVC Research/Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme.

Crypsis in cuckoo eggs: who are they hiding from?; Gloag R, Langmore N; Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour/Research Project Grant.

Selected publications

For a full list of publications, see my https://sydney.edu.au/science/people/ros.gloag.php

Gloag, R., Ding, G., Christie, J., Buchmann, G., Beekman, M., Oldroyd, B. (2017). An invasive social insect overcomes genetic load at the sex locus. Nature Ecology and Evolution 1(1), 1-6.

Stephens, R., Beekman, M., Gloag, R. (2017) The upside of recognition error? The Australian stingless bee Tetragonula carbonaria tolerates high worker drift in artificial aggregations. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 121: 258-266.

Gloag, R., Tan, K., Wang, Y., Song, W., Luo, W., Buchmann, G., Beekman, M., Oldroyd, B. (2017). No evidence of queen thelytoky following interspecific crosses of the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera, Insectes Sociaux. 64: 241.

Smith, J. Heard, T. Beekman, M., Gloag, R. (2017) Flight range of the Australian stingless bee Tetragoula carbonaria (Hymentopera: Apidae). Austral Entomology, 56: 50-53.

Tuero, D., Gloag, R. and Reboreda, J-C. (2015) Nest environment modulates begging behaviour of a generalist brood parasite. Behavioral Ecology 27: 204-210.

Gloag, R., Keller, L. and Langmore, N. (2014) Cryptic cuckoo eggs hide from competing cuckoos. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 1792.

Fiorini, V.D., Gloag, R., Kacelnik, A. and Reboreda, J-C. (2014) Strategic egg destruction by brood parasitic cowbrids? Animal Behaviour 93: 229-235.

Gloag, R., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C and Kacelnik, A. (2014). Shiny cowbirds share foster mothers but not true mothers in multiply parasitized mockingbird nests. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 68:681-689.

Gloag, R., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C and Kacelnik, A. (2013). The wages of violence: mobbing by mockingbirds as a front-line defence against brood parasitic cowbirds. Animal Behaviour 86:1023-1029

Gloag, R. and Kacelnik, A. (2013) Host manipulation via begging call structure in the brood parasitic shiny cowbird. Animal Behaviour 86: 101-109

De Marsico, M., Gloag, R. Ursino, C. and Reboreda, J-C. (2013) A novel method of rejection of brood parasitic eggs reduces parasitism intensity in a cowbird host. Biology Letters. 9: 20130076

Gloag, R., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C and Kacelnik, A. (2012). Brood parasite eggs enhance host egg survival in a multiply parasitized host. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279: 1831-1839.

Gloag, R., Tuero, D.T., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C. and Kacelnik, A. (2012) The economics of nestmate-killing in avian brood parasites: a provisions trade-off. Behavioral Ecology 23: 132-140.