I am an evolutionary biologist broadly interested in reproduction and sexual selection, condition-dependence, and animal behaviour. At the moment I am particularly interested in non-genetic effects and their potential to influence the trajectory of evolution. I am also very keen to study some of the potential mechanisms that may confer these effects through male ejaculate or specialised female secretory cells and have a number of ideas I am currently developing in this area. I am very open to discussion and collaboration so please reach out if you are interested in my work or feel my expertise could be useful.
I completed my MSc under the supervision of Professor Gregory Holwell and Dr Chrissie Painting the University of Auckland, New Zealand. I investigated the courtship and aggressive behaviours, and allometry of an unstudied species of fly, Scordalus femoratus (Helosciomyzidae), along with the community ecology of native carrion flies in the Waitakere ranges. I have a keen interest in insects (particularly flies) but am willing to work with anything if the organism suits the question!
My PhD within the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (2020) was under the supervision of Professor Russell Bonduriansky & Dr Angela Crean. For my thesis in the Bonduriansky lab I used the neriid fly Telostylinus angusticollis to empirically investigate a number of environmental effects on reproductive allocation.
After a couple of short postdoctoral roles I leveraged my scientific skills to work within industry for a small tech start-up, Scimita Ventures, where I mainly worked with bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and the development of IoT devices, as well as a number of other weird and wonderful projects (January 2021-February 2023).
I have very recently had the opportunity to re-enter academia attaining a Postdoctoral fellowship working with my PhD supervisor, Russell Bonduriansky. In this role, I am working on a number of projects but mainly following up on some of my PhD work looking at multi-generational maternal effects. To briefly summarise my current work:
After my foray into the tech world I have also resumed a number of collaborative works including a study examining the effects of artifical selection on phenotypic integration in the bulb mite (Rhizoglyphus echinopus) with Dr Bruno Buzatto, and several works with Professor John Hunt on natural and sexual selection using Gryllodes sigillatus, Telogryllus commodus, and Nauphoeta cinerea.
I also love to be involved with our scientific community having served as a reviewing editor for the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. I am currently also serving as a council member for the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales where I organise their science outreach talks every month, Wildlife talks at the Watering Hole.
PhD in Evolutionary Ecology, 2020
University of New South Wales
MSc in Evolutionary Ecology, 2014
University of Auckland
BSc in Biological Sciences, 2012
University of Auckland
The spectacular diversity of insect male genitalia, and their relative insensitivity to the environment, have long puzzled evolutionary biologists and taxonomists. We asked whether the unusual evolvability of male genitalia could be associated with low morphological integration of genitalic traits, by comparison with male somatic traits and female traits. We also asked whether this pattern was robust to variation in resource availability during development, which affects adult condition. To address these questions, we manipulated larval diet quality in a split-brood design and compared levels of integration of male and female genitalic and somatic traits in the neriid fly, Telostylinus angusticollis. We found that male genitalic traits were substantially less integrated than male somatic traits, and less integrated than female genitalic traits. Female genitalic traits were also less integrated than female somatic traits, but the difference was less pronounced than in males. However, integration of male genitalic traits was negatively condition-dependent, with high-condition males exhibiting lower trait integration than low-condition males. Finally, genitalic traits exhibited lower larval diet × family interactions than somatic traits. These results could help explain the unusually high evolvability of male genitalic traits in insects.