Teaching & Students



Erin discovering the caves (and harvestmen) at Waitomo

Erin Powell  – Erin recently started her PhD at UoA with Greg Holwell and I looking at weaponry and mating behaviour of long legged harvestmen. Erin will be spending a lot of nights in the caves and forests around Waitomo & will need a lot of help – please get in touch if you can help!


Renee & I collecting spiders in Malaysia

Wee Huixin Renee – Renee did her Honours with Daiqin Li and I at NUS looking at the function of bright colouration in Orsima ichneumon jumping spiders. Renee finished in early 2016.


Gwen happy to find her study species in Singapore

Chow Shi En Gwendolyn  Gwen did her final year undergraduate research project with Daiqin Li and I at NUS looking at imperfect mimicry in Orsima ichnuemon jumping spiders.


Bex takes a closer look at a giraffe weevil

Rebecca Le Grice -Bex did her Masters of Science (with 1st Class Hons!) in 2014/2015 with Greg Holwell and I. Bex looked at the competitive assessment strategies (fighting) and lifetime mating success of NZ giraffe weevils.

Me insect

Anna loves insects!

Anna Probert – BSc 1st Class Honours – 2013

Anna investigated the ecology and variation of chelicerae size of some pretty amazing harvestmen under supervision of Greg Holwell and myself at the University of Auckland. Anna is now doing her PhD on biosecurity risk assessment of ants in the Ecology Ngātahi group.

Daniel Townsend – BSc 1st Class Honours – 2013 – Sexual selection and weapon allometry in endemic New Zealand harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) (Co-supervised with Dr Greg Holwell, University of Auckland)

Summer students


Madeleine Thom – 2016/2017

Maddi is studying sperm competition in the New Zealand giraffe weevil. Maddi has just finished her 2nd year of her Bachelor of Science degree.

I supervised three summer students and an intern during my PhD research: Leilani Walker, Fonti Kar, Nicholas Goh, and Celia Chan. Although all were in some way involved with the giraffe weevil research, I encouraged the development of independent side-projects including exploring the diversity of phoretic mites that piggyback on giraffe weevils and a pitfall trapping programme to investigate invertebrate diversity in response to pest control at Matuku Reserve.

photo for webpage

Marking and measuring weevils all summer long! (From left to right: Leilani Walker, Fonti Kar, Celia Chan, Nicholas Goh, me)


BIOSCI207 Adaptive Design (2013): I developed and delivered 8 lectures for the Behavioural Ecology component of this 2nd year undergraduate course. Topics I covered included parental care, optimal foraging, signalling and deception. I also coordinated and ran the field trip to the Muriwai gannet colony for this course to teach students about the breeding behaviour of Australasian gannets. Finally, for this course I ran four lab sessions on ornamentation, sexual dimorphism and mating systems in birds.


BIOSCI320 Pure and Applied Entomology (2011-2013): For three years I was the sole tutor for this 3rd year undergraduate course which involved helping to run the 3 day field course, developing & delivering a series of statistics tutorials, marking reports & insect collections and generally being the go-to person for all the practical aspects of the course.

BIOSCI337 Animal Behaviour (2011-2013) : For three years I helped to coordinate and teach a 3 day field course to the Miranda Shorebird Centre where students conducted group projects on animal behaviour (frogs, spiders, moths, shorebirds & earwigs, etc!). I also helped students post-trip with data analysis and marked reports.

Lab & Field Trip Demonstrating

BIOSCI103 Comparative Animal Biology (Lab demonstrator, 2010-2011)

BIOSCI104 New Zealand Ecology & Conservation (Field trip demonstrator, 2010-2013)

BIOSCI100 Antarctica: The Frozen Continent (Lab demonstrator, 2010-2012)

BIOSCI92F: Foundation Biology (Lab demonstrator, 2011)

BIOSCI207: Adaptive Design (Lab demonstrator, 2010)


Students on the animal behaviour field trip watching shore birds in the distance (not cows)

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