Dr Matthew Symonds

STAFF PROFILE

Position

Senior Lecturer In Ecology

Faculty

Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env

Department

School of Life & Env. Sciences

Campus

Melbourne Burwood Campus

Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts, , 1994
Doctor of Philosophy, , 2000
Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2012

Biography

I graduated as a zoologist with a BA(Hons) in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1994. I briefly dabbled in the world of population genetics, doing a masters degree with Prof Bryan Clarke at the University of Nottingham on the maintenance of prey polymorphisms due to frequency dependent selection by avian predators. Heading back to Cambridge, I obtained my PhD under the supervision of Dr Adrian Friday, looking at the effect of phylogenetic accuracy on comparative studies, concentrating on life-history evolution in mammals and, in particular, the order Insectivora. After graduating in 2000 I worked as Science Co-ordinator for The Charles Darwin Trust, before returning to research in 2002. I initially came to the University of Melbourne for a year to work with Prof Mark Elgar on a Royal Society Travelling Research Fellowship, looking at pheromone evolution in bark beetles. I then spent two years (2003-2005) at James Cook University in Townsville as an ARC Research Associate with Prof Chris Johnson, looking at the macroecology of Australian land birds and in particular explaining patterns of abundance and range size. I returned to the University of Melbourne in 2005 to take up a ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship on pheromone evolution in insects, and stayed there as a research fellow and lecturer until November 2010 when I joined Deakin University as a Lecturer in Ecology

For more about me and my research visit http://symondslab.wordpress.com

Read more on Matthew's profile

Biography summary

2015 - Senior Lecturer, Deakin University, School of Life and Environmental Sciences

2010 - 2014 Lecturer, Deakin University, School of Life and Environmental Sciences

2005-2010 Research Fellow and Lecturer, University of Melbourne

2003-2005 Research Associate, James Cook University

2002 Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

2000-2001 Science Co-Ordinator, The Charles Darwin Trust

1996-2000 PhD, University of Cambridge

1995 MPhil, University of Nottingham

1991-1994 BA (Hons) Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

Career highlights

President of the Australasian Evolution Society 2013-2015

Deakin University Teaching Awards 2012, 2013, 2014

ARC Discovery Project (with Mark Elgar) 2009

ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2005

Royal Society Travelling Research Fellow 2002

Research interests

Using phylogenies to explain patterns of chemical diversity in insects (pheromones) and plants (medicinal compounds) 

Evolution of elaborate antennal structures in insects

Phylogenetic comparative analyses of behaviour (including signalling), morphology and physiology in animals. 

Insect behavioural ecology

Bird macroecology and explaining geographic variation in morphology, abundance and species richness

Statistical methods in behavioural ecology

Affiliations

Deputy Director, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University

Member: Australasian Evolution Society, Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Australian Entomological Society, International Society for Behavioural Ecology, European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne

Fellow, Cambridge Philosophical Society

Teaching interests

Evolutionary biology, Ecology, Animal Behaviour

Units taught

SLE 370 Evolution (unit chair)

SLE 251 Research Methods and Data Analysis (unit chair)

plus contribution towards

SLE 151 Biodiversity

SLE 307 Behavioural Ecology

SLE 390 Professional Practice in Bioscience

SLE 314 Research Project

Knowledge areas

Evolutionary biology

Chemical communication

Bird Macroecology

Insect behavioural ecology

Expertise

Evolutionary biology Pheromones Bird Ecology Insect behaviour Publication and gender issues in science
  • Behaviour
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Gender issues

Conferences

Recent:

Organising Panel and Speaker: 2015 International Ethological Congress, Cairns

Speaker: 2014 Australian Entomological Society Conference, Canberra

Speaker: 2014 Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour Conference, Katoomba

Organiser: 2013 Australasian Evolution Society Conference, Geelong

Speaker: 2013 International Chemical Ecology Conference, Melbourne

Plenary speaker: 2012 Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Geelong

Plenary speaker: 2012 New Zealand Entomological Society Conference, Whangarei

Speaker: 2012 Australian Entomological Society Conference, Hobart

Professional activities

President, Australasian Evolution Society 2013-2015

Council member, Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour 2009-2013

Subject Editor, Oikos

Review Editor, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution: Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology

Editorial Board: Axios Review

Media appearances

Audubon magazine, June 2015 - Warmer world, bigger beaks

LSE Blogs, December 2014 - Striving for gender equity in science

Scientific American, August 2012 - Beak Heat: Evolutionary Theory of Bird Bills May Need Revision 

The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, September 2010 - Peak beak or chill bill? It's a climate thing

New York Times, March 2008 - For Scientists, a Beer Test Shows Results as a Litmus Test

New Scientist - July 2007 - Why women lose out in the lab

Projects

The evolution of pheromones and antennal diversity in insects

Climate, Allen’s rule and the evolution of bird beaks

Using phylogeny to predict medicinal utility of basal angiosperms (the ancient spice clades) in Australasia

Publications

Filter by

2017

Bill size mediates behavioural thermoregulation in birds

J Ryeland, M Weston, M Symonds

(2017), Vol. 31, pp. 885-893, Functional ecology, London, Eng., C1

journal

Measurement techniques for curved shorebird bills: a comparison of low-tech and high-tech methods

J Ryeland, M Symonds, M Weston

(2017), Vol. 124, pp. 33-39, Wader study, [Devon, Eng.], C1

journal

Sexual selection on receptor organ traits: younger females attract males with longer antennae

T Johnson, M Symonds, M Elgar

(2017), Vol. 104, pp. 1-6, The science of nature, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal
2016

The evolution of aggregation pheromone diversity in bark beetles

M Symonds, C Gitau-Clarke

(2016), Vol. 50, pp. 195-234, Advances in insect physiology: pine bark beetles, B1

chapter

Tests of ecogeographical relationships in a non-native species: what rules avian morphology?

A Cardilini, K Buchanan, C Sherman, P Cassey, M Symonds

(2016), Vol. 181, pp. 783-793, Oecologia, Berlin, Gemany, C1

journal

Time since urbanization but not encephalisation is associated with increased tolerance of human proximity in birds

M Symonds, M Weston, W Van Dongen, A Lill, R Robinson, P Guay

(2016), Vol. 4, pp. 1-9, Frontiers in ecology and evolution, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1

journal

The evolution of the avian bill as a thermoregulatory organ

G Tattersall, B Arnaout, M Symonds

(2016), Vol. 92, pp. 1-27, Biological reviews, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal

Experimental evolution reveals that population density does not affect moth signalling behaviour and antennal morphology

K Ashman, K McNamara, M Symonds

(2016), Vol. 30, pp. 1009-1021, Evolutionary ecology, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal

Spatial variation in avian bill size is associated with humidity in summer among Australian passerines

J Gardner, M Symonds, L Joseph, K Ikin, J Stein, L Kruuk

(2016), Vol. 3, pp. 1-11, Climate change responses, London, Eng., C1

journal
2015

The mothematics of female pheromone signaling: strategies for aging virgins

K Umbers, M Symonds, H Kokko

(2015), Vol. 185, pp. 417-432, American naturalist, Chicago, Ill., C1

journal

Evolutionary history and leaf succulence as explanations for medicinal use in aloes and the global popularity of Aloe vera

O Grace, S Buerki, M Symonds, F Forest, A van Wyk, G Smith, R Klopper, C Bjorå, S Neale, S Demissew, M Simmonds, N Rønsted

(2015), Vol. 15, pp. 1-12, BMC evolutionary biology, London, Eng., C1

journal

Climate-related spatial and temporal variation in bill morphology over the past century in Australian parrots

D Campbell-Tennant, J Gardner, M Kearney, M Symonds

(2015), Vol. 42, pp. 1163-1175, Journal of biogeography, London, Eng., C1

journal

Investment in sensory structures, testis size, and wing coloration in males of a diurnal moth species: trade-offs or correlated growth?

B Shiel, C Sherman, M Elgar, T Johnson, M Symonds

(2015), Vol. 5, pp. 1601-1608, Ecology and evolution, London, Eng., C1

journal
2014

Comparative analysis of classic brain component sizes in relation to flightiness in birds

M Symonds, M Weston, R Robinson, P Guay

(2014), Vol. 9, pp. 1-8, PLoS one, San Francisco, California, C1

journal

Leaders benefit followers in the collective movement of a social sawfly

L Hodgkin, M Symonds, M Elgar

(2014), Vol. 281, pp. 1-6, Proceedings of the royal society B, London, Eng., C1

journal

Lecturing and other face-to-face teaching - too much or too little? An assessment based on student feedback and fail rates

M Symonds

(2014), Vol. 33, pp. 1221-1231, Higher education research and development, London, Eng., C1

journal

Gender differences in conference presentations: a consequence of self-selection?

T Jones, K Fanson, R Lanfear, M Symonds, M Higgie

(2014), Vol. 2, pp. 1-15, PeerJ, Corte Madera, Calif., C1

journal

A primer on phylogenetic generalised least squares

M Symonds, S Blomberg

(2014), pp. 105-130, Modern phylogenetic comparative methods and their application in evolutionary biology : concepts and practice, Berlin, Germany, B1

chapter
2013

Brains and bravery: little evidence of a relationship between brain size and flightiness in shorebirds

P Guay, M Weston, M Symonds, H Glover

(2013), Vol. 38, pp. 516-522, Austral ecology, Richmond, Vic., C1

journal

Macrostress: do large-scale ecological patterns exist in the glucocorticoid stress response of vertebrates?

T Jessop, R Woodford, M Symonds

(2013), Vol. 27, pp. 120-130, Functional ecology, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

Distance from water, sex and approach direction influence flight distances among habituated black swans

P Guay, R Lorenz, R Robinson, M Symonds, M Weston

(2013), Vol. 119, pp. 552-558, Ethology, Weinheim, Germany, C1

journal

Factors shaping the evolution of colour patterns in Australian agamid lizards (Agamidae): a comparative study

I Chen, M Symonds, J Melville, D Stuart-Fox

(2013), Vol. 109, pp. 101-112, Biological journal of the Linnean Society, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

The evolution of body size, antennal size and host use in parasitoid wasps (hymenoptera: chalcidoidea): a phylogenetic comparative analysis

M Symonds, M Elgar

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1-13, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal
2012

Pheromone production, male abundance, body size, and the evolution of elaborate antennae in moths

M Symonds, T Johnson, M Elgar

(2012), Vol. 2, pp. 227-246, Ecology and evolution, West Sussex, Eng., C1

journal

Reproductive consequences of male arrival order in the Bark beetle, Ips grandicollis

M Symonds, M Magrath, T Latty

(2012), Vol. 25, pp. 401-407, Journal of insect behavior, New York, N. Y., C1-1

journal

Sexual selection and the evolution of complex color patterns in dragon lizards

I Chen, D Stuart-Fox, A Hugall, M Symonds

(2012), Vol. 66, pp. 3605-3614, Evolution, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal

Can phylogeny predict chemical diversity and potential medicinal activity of plants? A case study of amaryllidaceae

N Ronsted, M Symonds, T Birkholm, S Christensen, A Meerow, M Molander, P Molgaard, G Petersen, N Rasmussen, J van Staden, G Stafford, A Jager

(2012), Vol. 12, pp. 1-12, BMC evolutionary biology, London, Eng., C1

journal
2011

Effects of humidity on the response of the bark beetle Ips grandicollis (Eichhoff) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) to synthetic aggregation pheromone

M Bassett, J Baumgartner, M Hallett, Y Hassan, M Symonds

(2011), Vol. 50, pp. 48-51, Australian journal of entomology, Richmond, Vic., C1-1

journal

Evolution of cuticular hydrocarbon diversity in ants

E Van Wilgenburg, M Symonds, M Elgar

(2011), Vol. 24, pp. 1188-1198, Journal of evolutionary biology, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

A brief guide to model selection, multimodel inference and model averaging in behavioural ecology using Akaike's information criterion

M Symonds, A Moussalli

(2011), Vol. 65, pp. 13-21, Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, Heidelberg, Germany, C1-1

journal
2010

Positive and negative effects of phoretic mites on the reproductive output of an invasive bark beetle

L Hodgkin, M Elgar, M Symonds

(2010), Vol. 58, pp. 198-204, Australian journal of zoology, Collingwood, Vic., C1-1

journal

Geographical variation in bill size across bird species provides evidence for Allen's rule

M Symonds, G Tattersall

(2010), Vol. 176, pp. 188-197, American naturalist, Chicago, Ill., C1-1

journal
2009

Changing philosophies and tools for statistical inferences in behavioral ecology

Z Garamszegi, S Calhim, N Dochtermann, G Hegyi, P Hurd, C Jorgensen, N Kutsukake, M Lajeunesse, K Pollard, H Schielzeth, M Symonds, S Nakagawa

(2009), Vol. 20, pp. 1363-1375, Behavioral ecology, Cary, NC, C1-1

journal

Harem size and oviposition behaviour in a polygynous bark beetle

T Latty, M Magrath, M Symonds

(2009), Vol. 34, pp. 562-568, Ecological entomology, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal

The evolution of sex pheromones in an ecologically diverse genus of flies

M Symonds, A Moussalli, M Elgar

(2009), Vol. 97, pp. 594-603, Biological journal of the Linnean Society, Oxford , Eng., C1-1

journal
2008

The evolution of pheromone diversity

M Symonds, M Elgar

(2008), Vol. 23, pp. 220-228, Trends in ecology and evolution, London, Eng., C1-1

journal

Species richness and evenness in Australian birds

M Symonds, C Johnson

(2008), Vol. 171, pp. 480-490, American naturalist, Chicago, Ill., C1-1

journal
2006

Latitudinal gradients in abundance, and the causes of rarity in the tropics: a test using Australian honeyeaters (Aves: Meliphagidae)

M Symonds, L Christidis, C Johnson

(2006), Vol. 149, pp. 406-417, Oecologia, Heidelberg, Germany, C1-1

journal

Gender differences in publication output: towards an unbiased metric of research performance

M Symonds, N Gemmell, T Braisher, K Gorringe, M Elgar

(2006), Vol. 1, pp. 1-5, PLoS ONE, San Francisco, Ca., C1-1

journal

Determinants of local abundance in a major radiation of Australian passerines (Aves: Meliphagoidea)

M Symonds, C Johnson

(2006), Vol. 33, pp. 794-802, Journal of biogeography, Oxford , Eng., C1-1

journal

Range size-abundance relationships in Australian passerines

M Symonds, C Johnson

(2006), Vol. 15, pp. 143-152, Global ecology and biogeography, Oxford , Eng., C1-1

journal
2005

Phylogeny and life histories of the 'Insectivora': controversies and consequences

M Symonds

(2005), Vol. 80, pp. 93-128, Biological reviews, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal

The mode of evolution of aggregation pheromones in Drosophila species

M Symonds, B Wertheim

(2005), Vol. 18, pp. 1253-1263, Journal of evolutionary biology, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal
2004

Web-building spiders attract prey by storing decaying matter

B Bjorkman-Chiswell, M Kulinski, R Muscat, K Nguyen, K Norton, M Symonds, G Westhope, M Elgar

(2004), Vol. 91, pp. 245-248, Naturwissenschaften, Heidelberg, Germany, C1-1

journal

Ecological correlates of the threat of extinction in neotropical bird species

G Gage, M Brooke, M Symonds, D Wege

(2004), Vol. 7, pp. 161-178, Animal conservation, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal

The mode of pheromone evolution: evidence from bark beetles

M Symonds, M Elgar

(2004), Vol. 271, pp. 839-846, Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences, London, Eng., C1-1

journal

Species overlap, speciation and the evolution of aggregation pheromones in bark beetles

M Symonds, M Elgar

(2004), Vol. 7, pp. 202-212, Ecology letters, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal
2002

The effects of topological inaccuracy in evolutionary trees on the phylogenetic comparative method of independent contrasts

M Symonds

(2002), Vol. 51, pp. 541-553, Systematic biology, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal
1999

Insectivore life histories: further evidence against an optimum body size for mammals

M Symonds

(1999), Vol. 13, pp. 508-513, Functional ecology, Oxford, Eng., C1-1

journal

Life histories of the Insectivora : the role of phylogeny, metabolism and sex differences

M Symonds

(1999), Vol. 249, pp. 315-337, Journal of zoology, London, Eng., C1-1

journal

Funded Projects at Deakin

Industry and Other Funding

Rapidly shifting landscapes: How does rural land-use change in the Western Strzelecki Ranges influence bird communities?

Dr Matthew Symonds, Miss Cara Brammar, Prof Andrew Bennett

  • 2014: $5,500

The evolution of harem polygyny in Hemideina thoracica

Dr Matthew Symonds, Ms Melissa Griffin

  • 2016: $876

The evolution of harem polygyny in the Auckland tree weta (Hemideina thoracica)

Dr Matthew Symonds, Ms Melissa Griffin

  • 2017: $950

Effects of climate change on morphology of Australian whistlers and shrikethrushes (Pachycephalidae)

Dr Matthew Symonds, Ms Isabelle Rose Onley

  • 2017: $1,898

Supervisions

No completed student supervisions to report