About

I’m a behavioural ecologist with a particular interest in what drives diversity in exaggerated traits, such as weapons and ornaments. I work primarily on arthropods including beetles, harvestmen, spiders and fiddler crabs, which has seen me undertake projects around the world. I have a broad interest in many aspects of natural history, but I tend to be drawn to peculiar-looking creatures that have so far escaped scientific attention.

I spent my PhD at the University of Auckland working onme2 the New Zealand giraffe weevil (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis) under the supervision of A/P Greg Holwell. The main focus of my project was to explore the mating and fighting strategies used in this fascinating species, as well as diving into some morphometrics and phylogeography. Most of my time was spent out in the field where I found that giraffe weevils are a great candidate for doing sexual selection studies in the wild.

After my PhD I jumped into a year-long postdoc working on weapon evolution in long-legged harvestmen (Opiliones) in the forests and caves around Waitomo, before doing several shorter stints working on coercive mating in fiddler crabs in tropical Darwin and size and shape variation in exaggerated traits in anthribid weevils back at Auckland. More recently, I finished a year-long postdoctoral research fellowship with A/P Daiqin Li at the National University of Singapore where I worked on sexual selection and mimicry in South East Asian jumping spiders.

I’m now back at the University of Auckland doing a postdoctoral fellowship on the evolution of weaponry in harvestmen, a Marsden funded project led by A/Prof Greg Holwell.

Google scholar citations – here

All photos are taken by Caleb Nicholson & myself unless otherwise cited. Please get in contact if you want to use any. If you are a keen student and would like to work with me then please get in touch.

Academic Work History

2016 – present: Research Fellow, University of Auckland (Dr Greg Holwell)

2015 – 2016 : Research Fellow, National University of Singapore (A/P Daiqin Li)

2014: Kate Edger Educational Trust Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Auckland (Dr Greg Holwell & Dr Robert Hoare)

2014: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Australian National University (Prof Pat Backwell)

2013-2014: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Auckland (Dr Greg Holwell)

2009-2013: PhD University of Auckland, NZ (Dr Greg Holwell & A/P Thomas Buckley)

2009: Lab Technician, Ministry of Primary Industries (previously Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry)

2004-2007: Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Hons Lincoln University, NZ (Prof Richard Duncan & Dr Ecki Brockerhoff)

IMG_6782

Night field work in Wairata, East Cape of New Zealand

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