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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Older males come out on top in battle of the breeders

Story | Friday 30 July 2021
Age is no barrier when it comes to reproducing for male mosquitofish.

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.

Jennie Mallela

Story | Tuesday 1 May 2018
Jennie Mallela conducts multidisciplinary research combining ecological, biological and geochemical research techniques to understand how environmental disturbance will impact reef function and health in the future.

Megan Head

Story | Tuesday 16 January 2018

Group research focus

Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

Waving a white flag - what message does coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef send?

Story | Tuesday 27 June 2017
Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.
Coral Reef Field Studies

Coral Reef Field studies at One Tree Island

Story | Monday 20 February 2017
Jennie Mallela recently co-taught the ANU coral reef field course, with colleagues from the Research School of Earth Sciences, up in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

Genital size doesn't matter - for fish

Story | Thursday 19 May 2016