Staff profile - John Endler

Staff image

Prof John Endler

Position: Alfred Deakin Professor
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env
Department: School of Life & Env. Sciences
Campus: Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus
Hours: I prefer to see students, etc in the afternoons so that I can have uninterrupted time in the mornings. Any day will do except Fridays, which are CIE seminar days. To be sure I'm in my office, you could email me first. The doors to the hallway for my office are on an annoying card-lock system so you will probably have to telephone me to come let you in.
Phone: +61 3 522 71313 +61 3 522 71313



  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, 1973

Professional activities

I do science whenever I can and however I can!  Science for it's own sake, formally (e.g. international meetings and collaborations) and informally (discussions, natural history).

LinkedIn profile


Subjects and units currently teaching

current: Evolutionary Ecology (SLE372)

Expertise categories

Expertise summary

Evolutionary Ecology, Sensory Ecology (particularly Visual Ecology), Evolutionary Biology, Behavioral Ecology, mathematical and computer modelling within these subjects. I know and enjoy programming in MATLAB, PASCAL, occasionally in FORTRAN and I'm actively learning R.

Knowledge areas

Evolutionary Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Sensory Ecology, Behavioural Ecology.  The interaction between sensory systems, signals, the environment, and how this can be used to predict the direction of evolution.

Student supervision

Many projects are being done by my postdocs, ph.d. students, honours students, and advanced undergraduates.   I'm happy to have more people in my lab group (presently about 7 people).

If you are interested in becoming my Ph.D. or other kind of student, or a postdoc, please email me about the kinds of things which interest you.   Please have one or more interesting scientific questions in mind when you write.  We can then discuss them until they become practical enough to do.  Of course your suggested research areas should be within my interests.  The best way to choose a future supervisor/mentor is to read his/her scientific papers and choose a supervisor who shares the most interests with you.  Note that, unless you have first class honours or equivalent (GPA 4.8+) and a publication or two, you will have a poor chance at a Deakin scholarship.


Awards and prizes

Fellow, Australian Academy of Sciences

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Exemplar, Animal Behaviour Society (their highest honour to a non-retired scientist).

Alfred Deakin Professor (Deakin University's highest academic honour).


Research interests

The interaction between sensory systems, signals, and the environment, and using these interactions to predict the direction of evolution under known environmental conditions.

My three main projects involve Bowerbirds, Guppies and Bearded Dragons and involve a mixture of field work, field experiments, lab experiments, and modelling.

I am always happy to have PhD students with similar interests, but they do not have to work with one of these three systems.  I've also had students working with various kinds of insects and spiders.

Here is a little more detail on my three main projects:

Signal design and its relationship to the environment and geometry in Bowerbirds.  Just how does the complex geometry and resulting multiple visual tricks and illusions created by great bowerbirds effect mating success and how and why do they repair problems in their bower geometry so quickly?  What insights can these birds and their bowers give us about how animals perceive the world and act upon sensory information--true or misleading?

Experimental evolution under known changed conditions in laboratory mesocosms (very large tanks) and wild guppy populations.   How do changed visual environments (mimicking changes in the forest canopy as a result of climate change) affect visibility of mates to females hence the direction of evolution of male displays, and how does this affect the evolution of female mating preferences and the visual system.   How does artificial selection for chasing particular colours affect female preferences, male traits and the visual system?  What are the effects in the field of canopy thinning on wild guppy populations?  Multiple minor projects resulting from these main questions.

The interaction between colour change, visual functions (within-species signalling and anti-predation), thermal balance, and environmental conditions in Bearded Dragon lizards.  Given that bearded dragons change colour in response to environmental cues as well as in response to other individuals how do they trade off the resulting changes in heat balance and visibility to potential mates, territory intruders, and potential predators?  How does this vary geographically?

Research groups

Centre for Integrative Ecology

Sensory Ecology and Behaviour (within the School of Life & Environmental Sciences)



Please see Google Scholar for an up-to-date set of my publications


Citations from Google Scholar 9 May 2016

                   Total       Since 2011

Citations  24477     7162
h-index           54           39
i10-index        88           71

I verified the total citation rate using The Science Citation Index within Web of Science.

Apparently my papers are appreciated!

Link to publications

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