My research interests centre around the evolution of life history strategies in carnivorous marsupials and more broadly the ecology of small mammal communities. In more recent times I have developed a keen interest in the urban ecology of birds; specifically, comparing bird behaviour among populations inhabiting areas that differ in human population densities.
Who is your science hero?
There are so many ! As an ecologist with an interest in small mammal population dynamics myself, Charley Krebs stands out because he has made a great contribution to the science of ecology (and still is).
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The insightful, challenging and probing questions that our students often ask. I have taught at all undergraduate levels, but I most enjoy interacting with first year students. I get to teach every student enrolled in first year biology and it is such a great pleasure of mine to introduce them to the breadth of biological disciplines that they can study and research here at RSB. Helping to provide pathways for students who are newly discovering and expanding their own interests and passions is very fulfilling. It is also satisfying to know that I have helped many students transition into the independent learning environment of the tertiary sector; an adjustment that can be difficult.
What is your teaching focus?
I teach a range of undergraduate subjects including physiology, ecology, systematics and evolution. When I am teaching, my favourite times are when I find myself completely immersed in a practical or tutorial class. It might sound a bit cliché, but I try to include some form of discovery for students in every class. Providing opportunities for “aha” moments and seeing genuine interest from students in their experimental activities, observations or discussions creates a vibrant learning environment that makes teaching all the more stimulating and rewarding.
- This profile originally appeared in the RSB newsletter, issue 74, April 2016.
- Profile of Juliey Beckman