Welcome to the webpages for the research group of Matt Symonds. We are based in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Our research covers a broad range of questions involving evolution, ecology and behaviour which can be roughly categorised into four main research areas:

  • Phylogenetic comparative analysis: using phylogenies (evolutionary trees) to understand how traits evolve, and the ecological factors that drive the evolution of those traits.
  • The evolution of chemical communication: understanding diversity in chemical signals, signalling behaviour and receiver structures, both within and across species (particularly insects)
  • Macroecology: identifying and explaining geographic patterns in bird morphology, behaviour, species richness, distribution and abundance
  • Insect behavioural ecology: in particular interactions between individuals in the context of aggregation

Lab members use field, lab and analytical approaches, often across multiple species to answer fundamental questions in evolutionary ecology. Although we mostly work on insects and birds, ultimately we are question-, not system-, focussed in our work. Consequently we also work on other taxa including plants, reptiles and mammals. For more on our specific research interests click the ‘People’ tab above.

We are always interested in hearing from prospective post-docs, PhD, and honours students with interests in these areas – see the opportunities tab above.

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