Student Research Grants

The Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour is committed to supporting behavioural research, particularly within the Australasian region and particularly by younger scientists. The ASSAB student research grants aim to support innovative high quality, research by providing $1000 towards research expenses for particularly promising projects and students.

Applications open:  April 2018

Applications close:  May 2018

Winners announced: ASSAB 2018 Conference

Annual awards comprise:

  • Up to 3 Grant Winners, each receiving: $1000 (AUD)
  • Up to 2 Highly Commended

Both Grant Winners and Highly Commended applicants will further receive $200 towards registration for the annual ASSAB Conference in the year following their award (at which grant winners will be expected to report on their project via a spoken paper presentation.)

How to apply

Download an application form: Application Form

Email the completed application form in PDF format to: grants [at]

Eligibility and conditions:

  • Applicant must be a member of ASSAB at the time of submitting their application. To become a member click here.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD, Masters or Honours program.
  • Research must be undertaken within the Australasian region.
  • Successful applicants will be required to report on the work performed.
  • Within 15 months of the award, they must submit a written report (ca 1000-words) suitable for use on the ASSAB website. Details will be provided to successful applicants.
  • As indicated above, they are also expected to give an oral presentation on their work at the ASSAB conference in the year following the award of the grant.
  • Previous successful applicants are eligible to reapply.

Grants are assessed by a panel of ASSAB Councillors, chaired by the President of ASSAB. Panel members are experienced animal behaviour researchers, but not expert in all areas of animal behaviour, so applicants should describe their projects accordingly.  All applications are judged on the quality of the research proposed (including interest/novelty of the project, the quality of the research plan and experimental design), the likelihood that it would deliver in the expected time frame and lead to a publication, and the likelihood that it will benefit from ASSAB funds. Applications that seek funds for research on a thesis topic that should be funded by the department/institution or a research council, are not favourably viewed.  The decision of the ASSAB assessment panel is final.

For further information email: grants [at]


2017 Grant Winners

Winners ($1000 each)

Aston Dickerson (PhD, Melbourne Uni),
The function of nocturnal song and the influence of light at night in a diurnal bird species
Erin Powell (PhD, Auckland Uni),
Investigating trade-offs between pre- and post-copulatory traits in NZ harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones) 
with weapon trimorphism
Bhagya Herath (PhD, La Trobe),
Multimodal signaling by the Australian dancing frog, Litoria fallax

Highly Commended

Madeline Jackson (Honours, Deakin),
Do microbes play a role in chemical communication in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereous)?

Maider Iglesias Carrasco (PhD, ANU/University of Basque Country)
Are females in good condition better able to cope with costly males?


2016 Grant Winners

Winners ($1000 each)

(Click on images below to see final Grant Reports)
Leena Riekkola (University of Auckland)
Modeling Humpback Whale Use in Antarctica

Stephen Zozaya (James Cook University)
Using pheromones to understand mate choice and diversification in Australia’s hyper-diverse lizard fauna

Alexis Levengood (University of Sunshine Coast)
How mothers shape evolution: The evolutionary significance of maternal effects on social behavior in long-lived mammals

Highly Commended

Amelie Vanderstock (University of Sydney)
Determining the effects of coal dust pollution on honeybee Apis mellifera behaviour
Kathleen Collier (University of Auckland)
The social organisation of Mystacina tuberculata: roost-selection and courtship behaviour"


2015 Grant Winners

Anne Aulsebrook (University of Melbourne) $1000

Bright lights, sleepless nights: the impacts of artificial light at night on melatonin, behaviour and sleep in black swans.

Michael Bertram (Monash University) $1000

Sex in troubled waters: effects of widespread agricultural pollutants on mating behaviour and post-copulatory reproduction in fish

 Elizabeth Newton (University of Melbourne) $500

Shedding light on feathers: how bird feathers intercept visible and near-infrared sunlight to aid thermoregulation. 

Julie Broken-Brow (University of Queensland) $500

Using flight behaviour to resolve a complex acoustic identification problem in cryptic sheath-tailed bat species.


2014 Grant Winners

David Hamilton, (University of Tasmania) $1000

Social networks, behaviour and transmission of facial tumour disease in Tasmanian devils

Michael Bertram, (Monash University) $650

Sex in troubled waters: effects of widespread agricultural pollutants on behaviour in fish

JingJing Zhang, (University of Auckland) $300

Insights into the navigation mechanisms of homing pigeon: a spatially-explicit individual-based model approach

Kirke Munch, (University of Tasmania) $300

Aggression and the evolutionary ecology of family living (lizards+models)

Rachel Templin, (University of Queensland) $300

A third form of polarization vision: Elliptical polarization vision in the stomatopod Haptosquilla trispinosa

Julia Riley, (Macquarie University) $300

Shifting Skink Societies: Social Organization of Saxicolous and Scrubland Egernia striolata

Marie Diquelou, (University of Newcastle) $150

Flying into the trap: Identifying capture biases in a widespread avian pest management technique


2013 Grant Winners

Jose Ramos (La Trobe University)

Tina Packmezian (Macquarie University)

Zhi FooYong (University of Western Australia)

Steph Price (Victoria University)

Petah Low (University of Sydney)

Caitlin Newport (University of Queensland)


2013 Student grant winners: From L-R: Petah Low, Andrew Barron (ASSAB President), Steph Price, Tina Packmezian, Caitlin Newport


2012 Grants Winners

Anna Carter (Victoria University of Wellington)

Danielle Klomp (University of New South Wales)

Anita Cosgrove (University of Queensland)

Michelle Roper (Massey University)

Emma Mcleod (University of Technology, Sydney)

Genevieve Phillips (University of Queensland)


2011 Student Grant Winners

From L-R: Scott Fabricant, Cory Toth, Gabriel Machovsky Capuska, James Makinson, James O’Hanlon, Dani Chandrasoma.


2010 Student Grant Winners


Past Winners of ASSAB Student Grants

Year Student Institution Project title Award (AUD)
2012 Anna Carter Victoria University of Wellington Stringing out nesting migration in tuatara: a mechanistic view of reproductive energetics $900
2012 Danielle Klomp University of New South Wales Diversity of communication signals in Genus Draco $600
2012 Anita Cosgrove University of Queensland Does habitat fragmentation impact sedentary bird species through reduced resource availability? $500
2012 Michelle Roper Massey University Song ontogeny and the micro-evolution of dialects in the NZ bellbird (Anthornis melanura) $500
2012 Emma Mcleod University of Technology, Sydney Coping with climatic extremes: The impact of behavioural thermoregulatory strategies on the response of a rock-dwelling marsupial to a changing climate. $500
2012 Genevieve Phillips University of Queensland Beauty is in the eye-of-the-beholder: reef fish patterns from a fish-eye-view Highly Commended
2011 Gabriel Machovsky Capuska Massey University Are gannets the capuchin monkeys of the ocean? $1000 + conference costs
2011 Cory Toth University of Auckland The breeding ecology of the Lesser Short-tailed Bat (Mystacina tuberculata) $750 + conference costs
2011 Lun-Hsien Chang Macquarie University The functional consequences of a bigger brain- effects of stimulated growth in mushroom bodies on homing success in honeybees $500 + conference costs
2011 Scott Fabricant Macquarie University Predator perception as a source of population divergence in colour patterns of the ‘aposematic’ Hibiscus Harlequin Bug (Tectocoris diopthalamus) $500+ conference costs
2011 James Makinson University of Sydney Peer pressure in honeybees: Using consensus signals to manipulate decision-making in European honeybee swarms $250 + conference costs
2011 Dani Chandrasoma Macquarie University Sexual selection in the Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii) Highly Commended
2011 James O’Hanlon Macquarie University Myrmecochory as an egg dispersal strategy in Australian Phasmids Highly Commended
2010 Isobel Booksmythe Australian National University The effects of competitor size on shoaling preferences in mosquitofish $500 + conference costs
2010 Noriyoshi Kawasaki Monash University Indirect fitness effects of alloparental care in captive common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) $500 + conference costs
2010 Sarah Withers University of Auckland A test of the habitat saturation hypothesis: Using translocation to investigate the effects of density and nest site availability on co-operation in a managed passerine species $500 + conference costs
2010 Nicole Lowrey University of Melbourne Extended phenotypes in animal communication: the function of petal-displays in fairy wrens $500 + conference costs
2010 Shelley Myers University of Auckland Is speciation driven by mating behaviour in New Zealand stick insects? $500 + conference costs
2010 Christina Painting University of Auckland Sex and conflict in the Giraffe Weevil $500 + conference costs
2010 Amanda Franklin University of Melbourne The effect of mating on the lifespan of female dumpling squid, Euprymna tasmanica Highly Commended + conference costs
2010 Amanda Greer University of Canterbury Exploring the relationship between kea foraging behavior and the nutritional contents of the plants on which they feed Highly Commended + conference costs
2009 Elizabeth Ronik James Cook University Effects of amphibian behaviour on the occurence and development of Chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease (PhD) $1000 + conference costs
2009 Rachel Slatyer Australian National University Polyandry in the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi (Honours) $1000 + conference costs
2009 Anna Gsell Massey University Chemical communication in the critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) (PhD) $500 + conference costs
2009 Madeleine Yewers University of Melbourne Personality variation on mate choice and establishment of pair bonds in a cooperative breeder (PhD) $500 + conference costs