Ryan James Leonard

Ryan Leonard

Position: Doctoral Candidate

Phone: +61 2 9351 5118

Location: Room 408, Heydon-Laurence Building (A08), The University of Sydney, NSW 2006


Current Research

Urban environments and the roads bisecting them contribute significantly to the high ambient levels of harmful pollutants, including particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen. These pollutants are detrimental to human health and, principal factors influencing the physiology and development of flora and fauna in urban centers. My research explores the effects urban pollutants have on invertebrate behaviour, with particular emphasis on invertebrate memory and cognitive ability. Using the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) as a model species, I principally investigate the effects of urban pollutants, including those associated with roads and vehicle exhaust, on the recognition and memory of floral-odours by honey bees.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Dieter Hochuli and A/Prof. Clare McArthur

Past Research

Project: Another one bites the dust: the effects of wind and dust on a model plant and insect herbivore.
(Co-supervisors: A/Prof. Dieter Hochuli and A/Prof. Clare McArthur)
Position: Honours Student, 2011

Honey Bees 1
Honey Bees 2


  • Leonard, R.J., McArthur, C. & Hochuli, D.F. (2015). Gimme shelter: exposure to wind alters insect herbivore behaviour. Austral Entomology (In review)

Conference Presentations

  • 2014 Oral presentation: Do leaf traits alter the amount of particulate matter that accumulates on roadside plants? Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation Inaugural Conference, July 2014, Coff Harbour, Australia.
  • 2013 Poster presentation: Does wind alter the behavior of gum leaf skeletonisers? Australian Entomological Society scientific conference, September, 2013, Adelaide, Australia.

Outreach and Community Involvement

  • 2013-2015 Member of the Biological Sciences Postgraduate student committee
  • 2013-2015 Volunteer for the Biological Sciences alumni and open day events
  • 2014-2015 Demonstrator for primary- and high-school outreach programs including Kick Start Biology, Kick Start on the road, Gifted and Talented Student Program, Compass Biology, Young Scientists of Australia Workshop
  • 2014 Biological Sciences Postgraduate Excellence Prize coordinator


Year Awards
2015 Best second year PhD presentation at the Biological Sciences Postgraduate Showcase, The University of Sydney
2013 Best student poster presentation at the Australian Entomological Society Conference 2013
2012 E.N. (Ted) O’Reilly Memorial Prize in Biology – Plant Physiology, Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney