Plenary Speakers

Public Lecture

Rob Brooks0018[1495]

The public lecture will be given by Prof. Rob Brooks (UNSW) on Friday 13th July @ 6 pm at QUT.

Rob is a Professor of Evolution and Director of the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at the University of NSW. Most of his research concerns sexual reproduction and how it shapes the behaviour, diet, lifespan and ageing of animals, including humans. His first book – Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World (2011, NewSouth Books) won the 2012 Queensland Literary Prize for Science Writing.  He will be talking about his recent research and forthcoming book on how interactions between evolution and economics shape human lives, societies and ideological beliefs.

Plenary Speakers

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Prof. Martin Stevens (University of Exeter, UK)

Martin Stevens is a Professor of Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Exeter (Cornwall/Penryn Campus) in the UK. His work covers sensory ecology and evolution, especially vision and adaptive coloration and their role in behaviour. His research spans a range of taxonomic groups and areas including: animal vision, in both the natural world and applied contexts, animal colour change and anti-predator coloration, avian brood parasitism and mimicry, applied aspects of understanding animal vision for welfare and safety, and responses to anthropogenic impacts. A major current area of research is camouflage in marine species and the mechanisms and adaptive value of colour change.


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Dr. Tanya Latty (University of Sydney)

Dr Tanya Latty ‘s research focuses broadly on invertebrate behaviour and ecology with a particularly interest in the intersections between behaviour and technology.  Her recent research directions  include studying swarm intelligence in bees, ants and slime moulds,  understanding economic irrationality in a range of organisms, and using eusocial insects as models for bio inspired technologies. She did her PhD at the University of Calgary in Canada, where she studied how tiny bark beetles were able to kill large pine trees by working as a group. She joined the University of Sydney in 2008 as a postdoc studying collective optimisation in bees, ants and slime moulds.  In 2014 she took up a lectureship at the University of Sydney where she is responsible for coordinating the entomology program.  Tanya has received several awards for her research and science communication including a NSW Tall Poppy award and a prestigious Branco Weiss Society in Science Fellowship.


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Prof. Rob Heinsohn (Australian National University, Canberra)

Professor Rob Heinsohn’s career has been marked by long term field studies of highly social birds and mammals. His first love was the cooperatively breeding white-winged chough, a large and somewhat goofy and endearing black bird found in the woodlands of south-east Australia. He then moved on to study the social fabric of lions in the Serengeti region of Tanzania. For the last 15 years he has specialized on wild parrots including ambitious field studies on Eclectus parrots and palm cockatoos aimed at understanding their striking colours, bizarre behaviour, and conservation needs. More recently Rob and his colleagues have been developing novel research methods aimed at conserving endangered migratory swift parrots, orange-bellied parrots and forty-spotted pardalotes in Tasmania. One of their major challenges has been to protect these hollow nesting birds from predatory sugar gliders that were introduced into Tasmania.


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Dr. Lisa Schwanz (UNSW, Sydney)

Dr. Lisa Schwanz is a senior lecturer at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Her research  focuses on the evolution and ecology of phenotypic plasticity, particularly in reproductive strategies, and responses to external factors such as climate change. Lisa completed her PhD (in 2006) in Biology at the University of New Mexico, where she studied how the reproductive investment in deer mice changes when condition varies. In 2013, Lisa was a appointed as a senior lecturer at UNSW. Current topics of interest include facultative host response to pathogenic infection, sex allocation in mammals, and temperature-dependent sex determination in reptiles.