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 with work in Costa Rica on the communication system of banded wrens 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 of riparian specialists occupying patchy habitat. I currently work on fairy-wrens with A/Prof Raoul Mulder at the University of Melbourne. This work includes research on individual differences in the behaviour of superb fairy-wrens in collaboration with Prof Niels Dingemanse and Prof Bart Kempenaers, as well as song complexity and plumage colour in Australian fairy-wrens, with a focus on females, in collaboration with Dr Naomi Langmore, Dr Kaspar Delhey, and Dr Kristal Cain. I also use bioacoustic approaches to assess the effects of artificial light at night on animal behaviour and fitness, in collaboration with Dr Theresa Jones.
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