Ord Lab
Behaviour and Evolution
UNSW | Sydney, Australia

I am always looking for good people to join the lab.
If you are interested, become familiar with the information on this web site
and then send me an email.

Honours Students and Undergraduate Research Experience

Potential honours projects and examples of previous undergraduate research can be found here.

BUT you don't have to wait until your honours year to get involved in research! There are undergraduate volunteers on most field projects and help is always needed in the lab, from video editing to image analysis. Take advantage of those gaps in your class schedule to get some hands-on experience working in a research lab.

Postgraduate Students

Enquires from potential Masters or PhD students - from Australia or overseas - are welcome.

In general, I expect postgraduate students to come up with their own research projects, which may or may not relate to ongoing projects currently done in the lab. Much of the work on existing projects is based out in the field, so keep that in mind. People often have a romantic view of doing field research, but the reality is doing science in 'the wild' is often difficult and you have to have a certain personality for it. Choosing a study organism should depend on your question of interest, not the other way round. The best projects are those that include:

  1) a strong conceptual question
  2) an observation that the question is relevant to the study system in nature
  3) an experimental test
  4) an evolutionary context

Creativity is key to good science with attention to detail coming a close second. Students will be expected to write up their research for publication as they go, rather than waiting until after handing in their thesis. The best outcome to aim for is a few strong, exciting publications appearing in international journals rather than many mediocre, poorly interpreted papers in small journals. Reputations are made from solid papers, not from long publication lists.

The Ecology and Evolution Research Centre offers one of the best postgraduate training programs in evolutionary ecology in Australia and is equivalent with the elite graduate programs overseas. We have access to facilities at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and a number of field stations: Smiths Lake, on the north coast; and Fowlers Gap, north of Broken Hill in the state's interior. UNSW is consistently rated as one of the nation's leading research institutions.

The UNSW campus is just up the road from Coogee Beach, a short bus ride from the city centre (downtown Sydney) and across the harbour from Taronga Zoo.


If you are interested in joining the lab as a postdoc, send me an email or track me down in person at a conference. I am usually at the animal behaviour or evolution meetings in the U.S., plus the local meetings in Australia.

There are a number of potential avenues for funding; e.g., fellowships through the National Science Foundation (those applicants from America), the Australian Research Council (DECRA) or UNSW's Vice-Chancellor's Fellowship. I am happy to discuss ideas and fine-tune applications, but the primary responsibility for writing grants will be on the applicant.

I am open to hosting postdocs that have their own independent research programs. My interests are broad and centred around the evolution of behaviour.