An interest in animal behaviour acquired while growing up in South Africa led me to study science for my undergraduate degree at the Australian National University (1992), where I completed an Honours project investigating the function of duetting in Australian magpie-larks (friends studying economics and physics were bemused that someone could enjoy their university studies so much). After a few years in the ‘real world’, I returned to research to pursue my fascination with magpie-lark duets further, completing a PhD at the Australian National University (2001), supervised by Prof Robert Magrath. I then moved to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA for a postdoctoral position, and developed my skills in bioacoustic research by working on the communication system of banded wrens in Costa Rica with Prof Sandra Vehrencamp (2002-2005). An offer of a post-doc with Dr Anne Peters at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (2006-2010) led me to abandon my migratory lifestyle, and return to duetting and a few new and fascinating topics particularly relevant to purple-crowned fairy-wrens, like the timing of breeding in tropical birds, and dispersal patterns in patchy habitat. My time in this remote and idyllic Kimberley region of northwestern Australia unfortunately came to an end, but I was lucky enough to find a similarly interesting fairy-wren to study on the opposite end of the continent. I currently work on superb fairy-wrens with A/Prof Raoul Mulder at the University of Melbourne. I study individual differences in the behaviour of superb fairy-wrens in collaboration with Prof Niels Dingemanse and Prof Bart Kempenaers. I also study female ornamentation (vocal and visual) in Australian fairy-wrens in collaboration with Dr Naomi Langmore, Dr Kaspar Delhey, and Dr Kristal Cain.
2011 – 2017 Research Fellow, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne
2006 – 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany
2002 – 2005 Postdoctoral Associate, Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, USA
2001 PhD, Australian National University