Jennions Group - Behavioural and reproductive ecology

We are a happy and extremely productive research group. We place a strong emphasis on creating a friendly working environment. If you thrive best in a winner takes all setting then we are not for you. If, however, you enjoy biology, like working with animals and find evolution fascinating then read on. We value and strive for research excellence. Ultimately scientists are evaluated on what they publish - avoid the hype and just check out our publications. If you are considering Honours, a PhD or Post-doc and want to produce high quality work with a view to pursuing a career in biology then please get in touch.

What do we do? We are interested in whole organism evolutionary biology, especially the evolution of behavioural and morphological reproductive traits. Our main focus is testing sexual selection theory. The kinds of questions we ask are:

  • Is there a trade-off between diets that maximize mating as opposed to fertilization success?
  • How does inbreeding affect sexually selected traits versus other traits?
  • Why do females mate multiply?
  • What affects the offspring sex ratio?
  • Are males more variable than females in their behaviour?
  • Does winning a fight increase your future likelihood of winning another fight?
  • Are older more succesful because they are more sexually experienced?
  • What determines the rate of sperm production? 

We conduct: behavioural ecology experiments, artificial selection studies, and meta-analysis of literature.

We use: immunological assays, diet manipulations, paternity analysis, and sperm assays.

We have conducted research on: fish, crickets, beetles, fiddler crabs, and humans.

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Recorded EE Webinar - Edwards

E&E Webinar: Wings, feathers, flight: the PhyloG2P approach to understanding bird biology

Event | Thu 1 October 2020
Scott Edwards is an acclaimed evolutionary biologist specialising in molecular evolution in birds. 
Recorded EE Webinar - Ritchie

E&E Webinar: Science Fictions: Some Cautionary Tales from the Replication Crisis

Event | Thu 20 August 2020
Why is there a Replication Crisis? That is, why are there so many findings in the published scientific literature that can't be replicated, or are exaggerated far beyond reality?
Recorded seminar Vivek EE Seminar

E&E Webinar: Stereo vision and prey detection in the praying mantis

Event | Thu 23 July 2020
Praying mantises are the only insects known to have stereo vision. We used a comparative approach to determine how the mechanisms underlying stereopsis in mantises differ from those underlying primate stereo vision.

You need to shut up: research silencing and its implications for academic freedom

Event | Tue 6 August 2019

Academic freedom is a notion often taken for granted by scholars.

Is facial masculinity a signal of health in men? Insights from a longitudinal dataset

Event | Tue 23 July 2019

Evolutionary theories suggest that women prefer masculine facial features in men because facial masculinity is an honest signal of men’s immune fun

The Price of Sex: an unexpected dimension in human evolutionary success and contemporary well-being

Event | Tue 25 September 2018

Having spent much of my working life studying sexual conflicts in animals, I have grown increasingly absorbed by human relations and how evolutiona

Lauren Harrison, RSB PhD student - International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Story | Tuesday 11 February 2020
Lauren Harrison, a PhD student in RSB, writes about what it’s like to be a woman in science and the importance of mentoring.

The purpose of life: why the textbook needs an update

Story | Thursday 1 August 2019
New research from Australia and Finland could help explain one of nature's strangest quirks - why some animals forego mating to help other animals procreate.
Meet the Superstars of STEM

Jennie Mallela is a Superstar of STEM

Story | Thursday 13 December 2018
Superstars of STEM is an initiative from Science & Technology Australia, that aims to increase the visibility of women in STEM and to challenge society's gender assumptions about science.