Reproductive and behavioural ecology of guppies

Examining the principles driving sexual selection

The guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is a well-established model for studies of sexual selection.

We are offering PhD project(s) that focus on both pre- and postcopualtory sexual selection and their potential interactions within a number of contexts. Some ideas of the sorts of topic that could be considered include:

  1. an examination of classic sexual selection theory, including the evaluation of Bateman’s principles in the light of behavioural and molecular approaches for studying mating and reproductive success
  1. sperm competition and pre- and postcopulatory trade-offs, where male reproductive investment strategies will be explored across a range of environmental and social environments
  2. offspring fitness in relation to sperm ageing, where the fitness implications of sperm storage and ageing are explored
  3. condition-dependence in females, where traditional approaches to study condition-dependent expression of sexual traits are turned on their head by exploring these effects in females

These and/or other topics can be merged into a successful PhD program.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Professor Jon Evans

My research focuses primarily on sexual selection and evolution in natural and laboratory populations of freshwater fishes and marine invertebrates, but I also continue to expand my research foci to include new model systems (e.g. amphibians, mammals, elasmobranchs) and research directions.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project:

  • Applicants must have an undergraduate or master’s degree in a relevant discipline, including Zoology, Ecology or Evolutionary Genetics, with relevant research experience (e.g. Honours or Masters research) in these areas.
  • Good working knowledge of statistics and statistical software (e.g. R) is essential.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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