Ashley Ward


I’ve always been fascinated by biology. I spent my childhood peering under rocks and staring into ponds and streams to find animals and watch what they were doing. But it wasn't until I started my degree in zoology at the University of Leeds that I realised 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.

Alexander Wilson

Photo of Alex Wilson

Alexander Wilson

I am interested in understanding how individual-level traits impact higher-level phenomena and their consequences for ecology and evolution.

My work is multidisciplinary, incorporates both laboratory and field components, and integrates theoretical and technological innovations to generate insights into a broad range of research questions.

My current interests span:
(a) social network analysis and collective behaviour,
(b) behavioural syndromes,
(c) human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC), and
(d) the use of animal tracking technologies and electronic sensory tags in conservation.

Current PhD Students

Mia Kent

Mia Kent

Mia Kent

Using fish as a model system, my PhD focuses on the phylogeny of collective behaviour and the evolutionary benefits associated with group-living.

Prior to starting my PhD, I worked in animal behaviour and physiology labs within the University of St Andrews, Lehigh University and Hamburg University. Throughout this time, I developed an interest in the mechanisms and functions of collective behaviour.

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

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