ASSAB 2016: July 5-8th, Katoomba, NSW


Delegates at ASSAB 2016: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba. Photo Credit: James O’Hanlon

Best student poster, speed-talk and talk awards announced at ASSAB 2016

Best Student Poster

Michael Kelly & Griffin Taylor Dalton, Western Sydney University

Does their colouration protect the southern corroboree frog, Pseudophryne corroboree, from predation?”

Hee-Jin Noh, Australian National University

Does host size affect body-size evolution in avian brood parasites?

Darshana Rathnayake, Macquarie University

Deimatic behaviour of Australian praying mantids

Best Student Speed-Talk

Fonti Kar, Macquarie University

Social learning in a family-living lizard

Anne Auslebrook, University of Melbourne

Sleep ecophysiology: a case for neuroscience in ecology

Ravindra Palavalli-Nettimi, Macquarie University

Is bigger always better? Behavioural implications of miniaturisation in ants

Best Student Talk

Murray Fea, University of Auckland

Cavernicolous Combat and Sexual Selection in the New Zealand Cave Weta Pachyrhamma waitomoensis

Julia Riley, Macquarie University

Early social environment affects behaviour of a family-living lizard

Thomas Boychynek, Monash University

Concurrent foraging patterns in Atta Leaf-cutter ants



Faculty Positions

Lecturer Position, School of Biological Sciences, Univerity of Wollongong, Wollongong [July 8, 2016]

Applications are sought for a continuing Lecturer position in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Wollongong.  We seek candidates with expertise in animal biology, including animal physiology. Applicants with interests that complement those of current academic staff are particularly encouraged.  Demonstrated excellence in research and the potential to attract external research funding are essential.  The appointee will be expected to develop a research program within the School, and to supervise Honours and postgraduate research students.

You will utilise a state-of-the-art research facility for contained animal and plant experiments, comprising 576 m2 of laboratory space including aviaries and temperature-regulated rooms suitable for small-animal research.  The appointee will be expected to teach in animal physiology, in addition to subjects concerning the ecology and evolution of terrestrial, freshwater or marine organisms.

Deadline: July 24, 2016

Further details here


Two Assistant Professorships, The Department of Biology, The University of Texas at Tyler [March 26, 2016]

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: We seek applicants with expertise in synthetic biology emphasizing biomedical applications. Any area of synthetic biology with biomedical emphasis will be considered including, but not limited to, disease mechanisms, vaccine development, production of pharmaceuticals and therapeutics, treatment of infections and diseases, microbiome engineering, cell therapy, regenerative medicine, etc. The incumbent is required to establish a strong, extramurally funded research program in his/her area of expertise.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in a relevant field (synthetic biology, genomics, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, etc.) with a minimum of two years of  postdoctoral experience in synthetic biology. (ii) Demonstrated research creativity, productivity, and grantsmanship. (iii) Ability to develop a strong, extramurally-funded research program. (iv) Demonstrated record of collaborative research (v) Evidence of effective teaching and other communication skills. (vi) Teaching experience at undergraduate or graduate levels is highly desirable.

INSECT EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY: Any area of evolutionary ecology will be considered but preference will be given to candidates using integrative approaches and cutting-edge technologies, and addressing broad questions  in evolution. The incumbent is required to establish a strong, extramurally funded research program in his/her area of expertise.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in a relevant field (entomology, evolution, ecology, population genetics, etc.) with a minimum of two years of  postdoctoral experience. (ii) Demonstrated research creativity, productivity, and grantsmanship. (iii) Ability to develop a strong, extramurally-funded research program. (iv) Demonstrated record of collaborative research (v) Evidence of effective teaching and other communication skills. (vi) Teaching experience at undergraduate or graduate levels is highly desirable.

Available resources: The Department of Biology offers a stimulating intellectual environment and has an excellent reputation in research and teaching. Twelve faculty members undertake research in diverse sub-disciplines, including genomics, bioinformatics, population genetics, evolution, ecology, neurobiology, microbiology, molecular biology, and physiology. Research seminars by invited speakers are held weekly. The multidisciplinary Center for Environment, Biodiversity, and Conservation is housed in the Department of Biology. A major Center for Excellence in biomedical sciences and synthetic biology is in the planning stages. A new expansion with state-of-the-art research and teaching labs has just been completed along with renovation of all existing teaching labs. Three large and sophisticated walk-in environmental chambers are available for research as is a confocal microscope.  A computer lab connects UT Tyler to the Texas Advanced Computer Center via a 10 Gb internet connection. The School of Pharmacy opened its doors in August 2015. Shared equipment and facilities, including a brand new vivarium, are available at UT Tyler’s sister institution, the University of Texas Health Northeast. For additional information, please visit www.uttyler.edu/biology.

Location: Tyler is located 90 miles east of Dallas in the scenic Piney Woods area of East Texas. Tyler is the cultural center of East Texas, a region with over one million people, and boasts many amenities such as museums, a planetarium, a ballet, a symphony orchestra, and a renowned performing arts center. One of the 14 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 8,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

Applications: Please include (as a single PDF file) a) cover letter; b) detailed curriculum vitae; c) statement of research interests and professional goals, d) statement of teaching interests and philosophy; e) reprints of 3 relevant publications and email to. Dr. Lance Williams (Synthetic Biology) at lwilliams@uttyler.edu or Dr. John Placyk, (Evolutionary Ecology) at jplacyk@uttyler.edu. Additionally, please arrange to have 3 reference letters sent to the same addresses.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until a suitable candidate is found. Start date is negotiable. Apply here

Graduate Positions

PhD positions to investigate vision in mantis shrimp, University of Queensland, Australia

Mantis shrimps (stomatopods) have the most complex visual system in the world – at the retinal level. We are still struggling to understand why, and therefore seek the help of a couple of keen and motivated PhD students.

The primary purpose of the successful candidates is to examine the apparently complex, but in fact simplified visual system of polarisation and colour reception in stomatopods. This will entail both laboratory and field work, specifically intracellular and extracellular electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, microscopy, and animal collection and handling. Additional experiments might involve behavioural trials, technical photography, videography, and image processing.

Expressions of interest are invited from outstanding science graduates that have relevant experience in neuroscience and are highly motivated to undertake a full-time PhD project. The successful candidates will join the established laboratory group of Professor Justin Marshall at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland, St Lucia campus. For more information on the Sensory Neurobiology Group, within which these positions are placed, go to: www.uq.edu.au/ecovis.

For further information and to apply, please visit: http://jobs.uq.edu.au/caw/en/job/499198/two-phd-positions-with-living-allowance-scholarships-to-investigate-the-extraordinary-visual-system-of-mantis-shrimp

If you have questions, please contact Professor Justin Marshall (justin.marshall@uq.edu.au).

Applications close: 29 Aug 2016 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Standard Time


PhD project on the alpine she-oak skink (Cyclodomorphus praealtus)

A PhD project is available in David Chapple’s Evolutionary Ecology of Environmental Change research group
at Monash University (https://sites.google.com/site/chapplelab/). The research group uses field studies, fieldand
lab-based experiments, comparative analyses, morphological analyses and molecular approaches to
examine the impact of past, current, and future environmental change on phenotype, life-history and

The Egernia Group (Egernia, Liopholis, Lissolepis, Bellatorias, Tiliqua, Corucia) is an endemic Australasian
lineage of large-sized skinks that exhibit stable social aggregations and long-term social and genetic
monogamy. The PhD project will focus on the endangered alpine she-oak skink, and investigate its mating
system, social system, ecology and habitat use, thermal biology and diet. The species is listed as one of
Zoos Victoria’s 20 priority native threatened species (http://www.zoo.org.au/healesville/animals/alpine-sheoak-
skink). This project will be supported by an ARC Discovery Grant, and involve collaboration with Geoff
While (University of Tasmania) and Mike Gardner (Flinders University).

Interested students should email their CV (including details of two academic referees), academic record, and
research interests to Dr David Chapple (David.Chapple@monash.edu) by Monday 5th September 2016.
Students will need to successfully obtain a PhD scholarship. One applicant will be selected to complete and
submit a PhD scholarship application at Monash University. For highly-qualified students, it may be possible
to commence the project in late 2016.
David Chapple
Dr David Chapple
Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Ecology
School of Biological Sciences (19 Rainforest Walk)
Monash University
Clayton VIC 3800, Australia
Ph: +61-3-9905 3015
Email: david.chapple@monash.edu
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/chapplelab


PhD Position, Transgenerational effects of stress on vocal learning, Deakin University, Victoria [July 8, 2016]

We are seeking an outstanding, highly motivated PhD candidate to work on the ARC Future Fellowship research project “Transgenerational effects of stress on vocal learning”. Previous work has demonstrated the fundamental impact of early life stressors on vocal learning in songbirds. The aim of this PhD research program is to assess the extent to which such effects are mediated across generations and test the possible mechanisms for any transgenerational effects using Zebra Finches as a model systems. The PhD student will work in a vibrant and productive research team testing the role of early developmental stress for song learning and neural development. They will conduct behavioural assays, bioacoustics analyses, neural sectioning and image brain sections for gene expression to assess vocal learning.

Stipend: AUD26,000 p.a. (tax exempt) for 3 years (for overseas students, waivers to overseas tuition fee are potentially available)

PhD Project content: The student will join a productive ARC-funded team testing the effect of early life stress on vocal learning and neural development. The student will have responsibility for recording song, carrying out playback experiments, collecting neural tissue and imaging the brain for gene expression, and will receive training in all these aspects. The research will involve collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany and travel there may be possible. Although the project involves clear aims to meet the ARC-funded objectives, we seek a student who is keen to develop their own interests and consequently find their own individual niche within the project.

For a description of the research groups see the following sites:




Some recent relevant publications by the group on this topic include:

  • Crino, O.L., K. L Buchanan, L.A Trompf, M. C Mainwaring, S. C Griffith (2016) Stress reactivity, condition, and foraging behavior in zebra finches: effects on boldness, exploration, and sociality. General and Comparative Endocrinology doi 10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.01.014.
  • Woodgate, J.L, K.L. Buchanan, A.T.D. Bennett, C.K .Catchpole, R. Brighton & S. Leitner. (2013) Environmental and genetic control of brain and song structure in the zebra finch. Evolution 68: 230- 240.
  •   Buchanan, KL, J. Grindstaff and V.V. Pravosudov (2013) Condition-dependence, developmental plasticity and cognition: implications for ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28, 290-296.

The Research Environment: The successful candidate would be based in the Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE) at Deakin University’s Geelong campus 50 minutes from Melbourne CBD, and 20 minutes from Bells Beach, Torquay. Deakin hosts one of the largest ornithological research groups in the southern hemisphere, and in the recent ARC Research Assessment exercise it received the highest possible rating of 5 in Zoology. Excellent facilities are available for the project, including a 300m2 new aviary, modern lab and offices, well equipped 4WDs for fieldwork, excellent statistical support and established sites for fieldwork on zebra finches. The CIE has over 60 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students, many from overseas, with multiple weekly seminars and paper discussion sessions, and the research group has 6+ postdocs and regular lab group meetings fostering a lively research culture. We strongly encourage PhD students to present at national and international conferences, and over $3000 is support for conference attendance is provided for each PhD.Who should apply? The scholarship would suit a highly motivated and able student with strong interests in avian evolution, ecology, behaviour or neurobiology.

Essential requirements include: Masters or first class honours (or equivalent in a relevant field); excellent written communication skills; high levels of enthusiasm, motivation; an ability to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team. A driver’s licence is essential, as field work may be required. The student needs to be able to take on the collection and analyses of neural tissue, after training. Experience in field work with birds and/or bioacoustics or neural analyses are desirable but not essential. The position will be based in Geelong, but with opportunities for work and visits to other labs. Selection will be based on academic merit and prior experience. Application deadline is 1st August 2016.

For further information or to apply contact Dr Ondi Crino (Andrea.crino@deakin.edu.au) or Professor Andy Bennett (andy.bennett@deakin.edu.au). To apply, please send a statement of your interest in the project, a detailed CV and contact details for two referees.


Field Assistant Positions

none available at the moment


Upcoming Conferences

2016. July 2- 9. 20th International Congress of Arachnology. Colorado, USA

2016. July 28-August 5, International Society of Behavioural Ecology Conference, Exeter, UK

2016. August. 8th World Congress of Herpetology, Hangzhou, China

2016. September 25-30. International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, Florida, USA

2018. July 12-14. Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour Conference, Brisbane, Australia.

2018. July 16-20. International Congress of Neuroethology, Brisbane, Australia

2018. International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Guarujá, Brazil.


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