Mark Elgar
Evolutionary Biology
Research Group
Animal Behaviour and Evolution
Room 247
Tel +61 3 83444338
Fax +61 3 83447909

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My BSc (Hons) was completed in the School of Australian Environmental Studies, Griffith University, and I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Nick Davies. My thesis research involved field experiments that evaluated the costs, benefits and role of communication among group foraging house sparrows. I was awarded an SERC Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on comparative studies at the University of Oxford with Paul Harvey, during which time I initiated research into  the evolution of mating behaviour in invertebrates. I pursued this interest while holding a University Fellowship and then a QEII Fellowship at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. I joined the Department of Zoology at Melbourne in 1991 and was promoted to my current position in 2005. I am a former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Behavioral Ecology,  and am currently Associate Editor of the journals Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, International Journal of Ecology, and Psyche, and am a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Ethology. I am a former member of the University Council.

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My research takes an experimental and comparative approach to investigating the evolutionary significance of social and mating behaviour, mostly in terrestrial invertebrates. Specific areas of interest include the evolutionary outcomes of sexual conflict, especially in sexually cannibalistic species; cryptic female choice and sperm competition; chemical communication; and the evolution of receptor organ diversity.

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Students & Postdocs

Current Postdocs

André Walter


Former Postdocs

Melanie Archer (VIFM); Marie Herberstein (Macquarie); Therésa Jones (Melbourne);  Jutta Schneider (Hamburg); Matt Symonds (Deakin); Tom Tregenza (Exeter); Nina Wedell (Exeter); Ellen van Wilgenburg (New York); Bob Wong (Monash)


PhD Students

Yasaman Alavi, Clare D'Alberto, Rebecca Featherston, Sarah Garnick, Lisa Hodgkin, Tamara Johnson, Clare Kinnear, Leonor Ceabllos Meraz, Eunice Tan, Qike Wang, Bernadette Wittwer, André Walter.


Masters Students

Xue Bian, Jessica Henneken, Haley Lambert, Nicole Quittner, John Sharp, Samantha Walker

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Evolution and the Human Condition
Animal Behaviour
Experimental Animal Behaviour
Research Project

Biology of Cells and Organisms

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Chair, Melbourne Custom Programs Committee, University of Melbourne
Member, Workload Advisory Committee, University of Melbourne
Member, Research Higher Degree Committee, University of Melbourne
Member, Academic Programs Committee, Department of Zoology


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Google Scholar Profile

Ceballos Meraz L, Hénaut Y, Elgar MA (2012) Effects of male size and female dispersion on male mate-locating success in Nephila clavipes. Journal of Ethology 30: 93–100
Cripps JK, Wilson ME, Elgar MA, Coulson GM (2011) The influence of reproduction on the foraging behaviour of female eastern grey kangaroos: an experimental study. Biology Letters 7: 859–862
Davie LC, Jones TM, Elgar MA (2010) The role of chemical communication in sexual selection: hair-pencil displays in the diamondback moth, Plutella zylostella. Animal Behaviour 79: 391–399
Garnick SW, Coulson GM, Beveridge I, Elgar MA (2010) Foraging efficiency and parasite risk: field experiments with eastern grey kangaroos. Behavioral Ecology 21: 129–137
Gill KP, van Wilgenburg E, Taylor P, Elgar MA (2012) Collective retention and transmission of chemical signals in a social insect. Naturwissenschaften 99: 245–248
Jones JM, Arnqvist G, McNamara KB, Elgar MA (2012) Size assortative pairing across three developmental stages in the zeus bug, Phoreticovelia disparate. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66: 995-1003
McNamara KB, McKenzie JL, Elgar MA, Jones, TM (2012) A female preference for experienced males in the almond moth, Cadra cautella. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66: 1141-1147
Symonds MRE, Johnson TL, Elgar MA (2012) Pheromone titre and composition, population abundance, body size, and the evolution of elaborate antennae in moths. Ecology and Evolution 2: 227–246
van Lieshout E, Elgar MA (2011) Owner positional disadvantage in contests over mating prevents monopolization of females. Animal Behaviour 82: 753-758
van Wilgenburg E, Symonds MRE, Elgar MA (2011) Evolution of cuticular hydrocarbon diversity in ants. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 1188–1198
Walter A, Elgar MA (2012) The evolution of novel animal signals: silk decorations as a model system. Biological Reviews 87: 686-700
Zhang S, Koh TH, Seah, WK, Lai, YH, Elgar MA, Li, D (2012) A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279, 1824-1830

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Further Publications: PubMed Search

Last modified: 15 November 2012