Devi Stuart-Fox (Principal Investigator)
I completed a Bachelor of Science in 1996 and Bachelor of Science (Hons) in 1998 at the University of Queensland. I began my research career with projects on phylogeography and molecular systematics of lizards under the supervision of Craig Moritz. I then did a PhD on natural and sexual selection on colour patterns in a group of dragon lizards (1999-2002) at the University of Queensland under the supervision of Ian Owens, Greg Johnston and Justin Marshall. Having developed a fascination for the evolution of animal visual signals, I did a postdoc with Martin Whiting at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa on colour change in dwarf chameleons. I spent four years (2003-2006) in South Africa then moved to Melbourne to take up an ARC postdoctoral fellowship (2007-2009) and faculty position at the University of Melbourne. I am currently a Senior Lecturer and ARC Australian Research Fellow.
Claire McLean (Postdoctoral Research Fellow May 2014 – )
Claire did her Honours with me on the predation costs of courtship rejection displays in Lake Eyre dragons. After taking some time out to do other things, Claire decided that she missed science and lizards and returned to do her PhD on the evolution of colour polymorphism in tawny dragon lizards (Ctenophorus decresii), co-supervised by Adnan Moussalli (Museum Victoria). In May 2014 she was awarded her PhD and is now doing a postdoc using next-generation sequencing to identify pigmentation genes in tawny dragons.
Katrina Rankin (Technical Officer/ Research Assistant April 2015 – )
Katrina completed her MSc on the heritability of male throat colouration in polymorphic tawny dragon lizards. She has taken on the role of Technical Officer/ Research Assistant in the Lab to learn some new skills and hone those she picked up during her Masters. Originally a marine biologist, the dragons have won her over!
Marleen Baling (co-supervisor, PhD student, Feb 2012 – )
Marleen is an experienced researcher, now doing her PhD at Massey University (New Zealand) supervised by Jim Dale (co-supervised by me). She is looking at the evolution of colour variation within and between populations in shore skinks (Oligosoma smithi).
Caroline Dong (PhD student, Mar 2016 – )
Caroline did her Masters with Bob Thomson in Hawaii from 2012 – 2015. She is now doing her PhD with us investigating genomic patterns of speciation in our favourite colour polymorphic tawny dragon lizard (Ctenophorus decresii). Check out Caroline’s website!
Po Peng (co-supervisor, PhD student, Nov 2016 – )
Originally from Taiwan, where he completed a Masters degree in I-Min Tso’s lab, Po decided to persue a career in ecological and evolutionary research, co-supervised by Mark Elgar, focusing on investigating the adaptations of behavioural traits and their evolutionary implications on interspecific interactions. These include the visual and chemical cues contributing to the maintenance of symbiotic interactions, as well as resultant communication adaptations in spatiotemporal scale.
Joshua Munro (co-supervisor, MSc student, Mar 2016 – )
Josh is investigating thermal adaptation in Australian butterflies within and between species, across different climatic conditions. He will be using specialised imaging equipment and spectrometry to measure the reflectance of butterfly wings across the full spectrum from UV through human visible and into the near-infrared! Josh will be using specimens at Museum Victoria, with Ken Walker – and is co-supervised by Michael Kearney.
Leslie Ng (co-supervisor, MSc student, Mar 2016 – )
Leslie will be investigating whether or not brightness is a dimension of honey bee colour perception. We know that there is plasticity in bee colour discrimination, but Leslie will determine if there is also plasticity in achromatic mechanisms such as brightness. While his bee empire is at Melbourne University, Leslie is co-supervised by Adrian Dyer at RMIT.
Richard Bartle (MSc student, Mar 2016 – )
Rick is investigating rival recognition and mate selection in northern and southern tawny dragon lizards. He will be conducting lots of behavioural trials on his captive dragon population to understand the role of male colour morph in male-male interactions, as well as courtship behaviours.
Justin Cally (MSc student, Mar 2017 – )
Justin completed his BSc and BBiomend Sci at Monash University before joining the Stuart-Fox Lab. With a strong interest in sexual selection, Justin will be undertaking research synthesis and macroevolutionary methods to determine the broad population fitness effects of sexual selection. With co-supervision from Luke Holman, he will undertake a meta-analysis on experimental evolution and comparative studies to quantitatively determine the role of sexual selection in shaping population fitness as well as extinction risk. Justin will also utilise phylogenies alongside environmental, historical and intrinsic predictors to ask the same question on a broad comparative scale across multiple taxa.
Lab alumni (since 2008)
Elizabeth Newton (MSc student, July 2015 – May 2017)
Elizabeth completed her Masters on a comparative study of the relationship between near-infrared reflectance and thermal environment in birds. She was based at Museum Victoria, taking photographs and spectral measurements of their extensive bird collection.
Tess McLaren (MSc student, July 2015 – May 2017)
Tess was co-supervised by Dr Ruchira Somaweera and performed a comparative study of the evolutionary drivers of colour change in agamid lizards throughout Asia. She grounded her research with an incredible field trip to India to measure colour change of some of the most spectacular agamids in the world.
Luisa Teasedale (co-supervisor, PhD student, Apr 2012 – Dec 2016)
Luisa did her Masters (2010-2011) on the function and evolution of throat colour polymorphisms in tawny dragon lizards (Ctenophorus decresii). She completed her PhD on deep phylogenetic relationships of land snails using next generation sequencing, supervised by Adnan Moussalli (Museum Victoria). I’m her ‘supervisor’ at the university. She is right into bioinformatics.
Maddy Yewers (PhD student, Jul 2011 – Dec 2016)
Maddy did her Masters with A/Prof Raoul Mulder on personality in fairy wrens. She artfully applied her expertise on animal personalities to colour polymorphic tawny dragon lizards. Maddy’s PhD investigated whether male throat colour morphs reflect alternative behavioural strategies and the evolutionary maintenance of polymorphism in this species.
Steven Mesis (MSc student, Feb 2015 – Oct 2016)
Steven investigated aggression in male tawny dragon lizards across a hybrid zone, focussing on the role of throat colouration in competitive interactions.
Danielle Klomp (co-supervisor, PhD student, Mar 2012 – August 2016)
Danielle did her Honours on the evolution of visual signals in Malaysian gliding lizards (Draco spp.), co-supervised by Terry Ord (University of NSW). She has now completed her PhD on the same at UNSW with Terry Ord, co-supervised by me. Her research involved field work in Borneo, peninsular Malaysia and the Philippines catching gliding lizards. Check out Danielle’s website
Viviana Cadena (Postdoctoral Research Fellow Sept 2012 – Dec 2015)
Viviana is an ecophysiologist. She did her PhD at Brock University in Canada on the effects of high altitude acclimation on thermoregulation . She joined us in September 2012 to commence a three year postdoctoral research fellowship on the adaptive significance of colour change in bearded dragon lizards. Viviana is a master trouble-shooter!
Anna Lewis (MSc student, Feb 2014 – Nov 2015)
Anna completed her Masters investigating the effects of stress on colour expression in tawny dragon lizards – she pioneered the use of electron microscopy in our lab to look at how colour expression corresponds to changes in the structure of pigment cells.
Scarlett Howard (MSc student, Feb 2014 – Nov 2015)
Scarlett completed her Masters, co-supervised by Adrian Dyer (RMIT) and Aurore Avarguès-Weber (Cognition Animale, CNRS/Université Toulouse 3, France) on visual cognition in honey bees – she showed that the small brains of honey bees are capable of using rules to learn successive foraging tasks, and then extrapolate information to novel situations.
Maggie Haines (PhD student, Jul 2010 – June 2015)
Originally from the US where she worked on many research projects, Maggie completed her PhD in 2015, on on the conservation genetics of alpine lizards (Pseudemoia spp.) with Jane Melville (Museum Victoria) and me. Maggie is now a Project Officer at Museum Victoria using next generation sequencing to investigate genetic diversity in hybridising frog populations affected by fire. Maggie is passionate about herps and conservation; check out her website!
Katie Smith (MPhil student, Mar 2013 – Jan 2015)
Katie joined us from the US. She completed her Masters on the adaptive significance of colour change in bearded dragon lizards. She focused on the thermoregulatory benefits of colour change. Katie is a lizard-whisperer!
Katrina Rankin (MSc student, Feb 2013 – Nov 2014)
Katrina completed her Masters on the heritability of male throat coloration in polymorphic tawny dragon lizards. She raised a lot of baby lizards!
Marie Fan (MSc student, Mar 2014 – July 2014)
Marie studied physics, chemistry and biology as an undergraduate and then did a Masters in Bio-Engineering in France. She undertook a Masters in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Exeter in the UK and joined us to do her research project on the circadian colour change in bearded dragon lizards.
Ashton Dickerson (Research assistant, Nov 2013 – Nov 2014)
Ashton completed her Bachelor of Science in 2013 and began working as my research assistant shortly after. She was responsible for the care of the bearded dragons, assisted in running experiments, data processing and wherever she was needed. She moved on to her own Masters in July 2014.
Samantha Walker (MSc student, Sept 2012 – May 2014)
Samantha did her Masters on thermoregulatory behaviour in tawny dragon lizards to understand how this may influence range limits. She was supervised by Michael Kearney (co-supervised by me).
Ben Wegener (co-supervisor, PhD student, Mar 2009 – May 2013)
Ben was based at Monash University where he did his PhD (March 2009 – May 2013) with Bob Wong. He was co-supervised by Dr Mark Norman (Museum Victoria) and me. Ben’s project was on male reproductive investment strategies in the southern bottletail squid, Sepiadarium austrinum. In his spare time, Ben is a talented soccer player and Latin dancer. Ben is moving to Brazil to commence a postdoc.
Zoe Squires (PhD student, Sept 2008- May 2013)
Zoe did her Honours on the effects of salinity on tadpole behaviour with Bob Wong (Monash University). She did her PhD (Sept 2008 – May 2013 ) on the benefits to females of multiple mating in the southern dumpling squid, Euprymna tasmanica. She was co-supervised by Bob Wong (Monash University) and Mark Norman (Museum Victoria). Zoe was very successful at winning grants to support her research.
Steve Heap (PhD student, Mar 2009 – Feb 2013)
Steve’s PhD was on how animals establish territorial boundaries and fine-tune behaviour in response to uncertainty in the social and physical environment. He is particularly interested in the mechanisms involved in resolving territorial disputes. Steve tackled these issues using a variety of taxa (terrestrial toadlets and cichlid fish) in the field and lab respectively. He also collaborated with Mike Mesterton-Gibbons at the University of Florida to develop a game theory model of contest resolution. He was co-supervised by Phil Byrne (University of Wollongong). Steve is now a postdoc in Finland.
Andrew Hugall (Research Fellow 2011)
Andrew Hugall has a long and illustrious career in molecular systematics and biogeography. Andrew spearheaded research on colour polymorphism and diversification rates in birds, for which he constructed VERY BIG trees. His research was published in Nature.
Amanda Franklin (Masters 2010-2011)
Amanda did her Masters on the costs of mating in dumpling squid. She won a Fullbright Fellowship to do her PhD in the USA.
I-Ping Chen (MPhil July 2009 – April 2011)
I-Ping joined the lab from Taiwan. She has a passion for travel and adventure. She did her Masters (MPhil) on the evolution of colour patterns in Australian agamid lizards. I-Ping was co-supervised by Dr. Matt Symonds (Deakin University).
Jenny Goode (Masters 2010-2011)
Jen did her masters on the function of female coloration in Lake Eyre dragon lizards (2010-2011). From her video footage, Jen made a mini film ‘Days of Our Lizard Lives’. She is now adventuring, which is what Jen does best.
Verity Miles (co-supervisor, Masters 2010-2011)
Verity did her Masters on the effects of past and future climates on cool temperate rainforests of south-eastern Australia (2010-2011). Her primary supervisor was Adnan Moussalli (Museum Victoria). She is currently preparing a publication from this work.
Pete Lancaster (Honours 2008-9)
Pete did his Honours (2008-9) with me and Tim Jessop on the effects of population and resource density on social behaviour and stress hormones in the tree skink. A paper from his Honours was published in the Australian Journal of Zoology.
Tessa Koumoundouros (Honours 2007-8)
Tessa did her Honours with Jo Sumner and I on the conservation genetics of the alpine she-oak skink (Cyclodomorphus prealtus). Her work was published in Biological Conservation and was instrumental in the federal listing of this species as Endangered.
Rita Chan (Honours 2007-8)
Rita did her Honours with me and Tim Jessop on the behavioural and hormone (sex steroid) correlates of female colour expression in Lake Eyre dragon lizards. She published two papers from her Honours (Behavioural Ecology and Journal of Comparative Physiology A).