Visiting Researchers

Maider Iglesias-Carrasco (2016-2017)

Maider Maider is currently finishing her PhD. She is part of the Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN-CSIC), Madrid. Currently, she is based in Australia and spends part of her time at the lab working on writing papers from her PhD and thinking about forthcoming projects. She also spends time in Canberra, at the ANU.

To read Maider’s work and see what she has been publishing about, take a look at her Google scholar page.

Past long-term visitors to the lab

Dr. Sergio Naretto (August 2016-February 2017)

Sergio visited from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina where he is in the Department of Ecology and Biodiversity. Sergio visited the lab for a 6-month stint and will return in mid-2017 as an Endeavour postdoc. He worked on UV-signalling in blue-tongue skinks and was involved in building a bluey robot with Will Bailes, an engineering student at Macquarie.

Find out more about Sergio’s work on his ResearchGate page.

Dr. Feng Xu (March 2015-March 2016)

4767492_origDr. Feng Xu is from the Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land (KLBB), Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Feng visited the lab for a year and worked in social learning in lizards. His research has three main areas: 1) conservation biology of birds and big mammals; 2) animal behavior of lizards and birds; 3) the life histories evolution of the amphibians and the reptiles. In the past ten years he has surveyed the distribution range and population size of some endangered species of birds and big mammals in northwest parts of China such as Falco cherrug, Chlamydotis undulata, Panthera uncia, and Capra sibirica. By doing this, he has provided first-hand data on the status of these endangered species in China. He has also studied the evolution of large body size of a frog on islands. Recently, his research is about animal behavior. He is interested in how an animal’s behavior is affected by predators and human disturbance.

(Dr. Xu’s website, only introduction is in Chinese)


Contact details
Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
NO. 818, South Beijing Road, Urumqi (830011), Xinjiang, China
Phone: +86 0991 7885437

Ph.D. 2006-2010, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
M. Sc. 2003-2006, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi
B. Sc. 1999-2003, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi

Research Grants
2015-2017, ¥ 260,000 The effects of desert highway on population status, distribution, and behavior of Xinjiang Ground Jay (Podoces biddulphi), National Natural Science Foundation of China.
2012-2014 ¥ 400,000 Effects of temperature on body size and growth rate of the amphibians and reptiles in Xinjiang, China. West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Wei Zhu, Feng Xu, Changmin Bai et al., A survey for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Chinese amphibians. Current Zoology, 103: 5-8.
Feng Xu, Weikang Yang, Wenxuan Xu et al., 2013, The effects of the Taklimakan Desert Highway on endemic birds Podoces biddulphi. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 20: 12-14.
Feng Xu, Yiming Li. 2013, Oviposition site selection by rice frogs on Taohua Island and the nearby mainland. Herpetological Journal, 23: 55-57.
Feng Xu, Gregory Adler, Yiming Li. 2013, Covariation in insular life-history traits of the rice frog (Fejervarya limnocharis) in eastern China. Asian Herpetological Research, 4: 28-35.
Feng Xu, Ming Ma, Weikang Yang et al., 2013, Vigilance in Black-Necked Cranes: effects of predation vulnerability and flock size. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 125: 208-212.
Feng Xu, Ming Ma, Weikang Yang et al., 2013, Group size effect on vigilance and daytime activity budgets of the Equus kiang (Equidae, Perissodactyla) in Arjinshan National Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China. Folia Zoologica, 62: 76-81.
Feng Xu, Ming Ma, Weikang Yang et al., 2012, Test of the activity budget hypothesis on Asiatic ibex in Tian Shan Mountains of Xinjiang, China. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 38: 71-75.
Feng Xu, Ming Ma, Weikang Yang et al., 2012, Winter habitat use of snow leopards in Tomur National Nature Reserve of Xinjiang, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 4: 191-195.
Yiming Li, Feng Xu, Zhongwei Guo et al., 2011, Reduced predator species richness drives the body gigantism of a frog species on the Zhoushan Archipelago in China. Journal of Animal Ecology, 80: 171-182.
Feng Xu, Ming Ma, Yiqun Wu. 2010, Group size and sex effects on vigilance: evidence from Asiatic ibex, Capra sibirica in Tianshan Mountains, China. Folia Zoologica, 59: 308-312.
Yiqun Wu, Ming Ma, Feng Xu et al., 2008, Breeding biology and diet of the long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus) in the eastern junggar basin of northwestern China, Journal of Raptor Research, 42: 273-280.

Dr. Stephan Leu (2012 and part of 2015)

Stephan first visited the lab in order to initiate a collaborative project with Martin on signalling in sleepy lizards (Tiliqua rugosa) and its integration into social networks. In 2015 Stephan was based in Sydney and he joined us to write up his work on the sleepy lizards as part of his postdoc with Mike Bull (Flinders). He is currently on a DECRA, hosted by Simon Griffith at Macquarie.

Research Interests

Stephan has a broad interest in behavioural ecology, particularly in social behaviour. He is interested in the proximate mechanisms and ultimate factors that drive the evolution of sociality. Social systems in non-model taxa, such as lizards, are particularly interesting because they provide the opportunity to investigate the generality of the theoretical framework on sociality that was largely derived through work on model taxa, e.g. birds and mammals.

Recently, he has been using social networks to address fundamental questions on social behaviour. He has been working on the causes and consequences of sleepy lizard social networks, including questions such as whether sociality is driven by resource sharing and how parasites move through a transmission network.

Selected publications

Leu ST, Kappeler PM. & Bull CM. 2011. Pair-living in the absence of obligate biparental care in a lizard: trading-off sex and food? Ethology, 117, 758-768. Doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2011.01934.x

Leu ST, Kappeler PM. & Bull CM. 2011. The influence of refuge sharing on social behaviour in the lizard Tiliqua rugosa. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65, 837-847. Doi:10.1007/s00265-010-1087-9

Leu ST, Kappeler PM. & Bull CM. 2010. Refuge sharing network predicts ectoparasite load in a lizard. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64, 1495–1503. Doi:10.1007/s00265-010-0964-6

Leu ST, Bashford J, Kappeler PM. & Bull. 2010. Association networks reveal social organization in the sleepy lizard. Animal Behaviour, 79, 217-225. Doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.11.002

Read more about Stephan’s work and his publications on his web site.

Sarah Deventer (3.5 months in 2015)

Sarah DeventerAt the time of her visit, Sarah was taking a brief sabbatical from her PhD at the University of Vienna in order to visit our lab and do some work on lizard cognition. She was an enormous help, even if the lizards were a bit frustrating at times! Sarah worked on tree skink (Egernia striolata) learning. At bthe time of her visit, Sarah was writing-up her PhD on personality and social dynamics in crows and ravens in the DK Program Cognition and Communication, University Vienna. Specifically, she studied the role of personality on the social network of a wild population of crows (Corvus corone), on the grounds of the Vienna Zoo (Tiergarten Schoenbrunn). Read more about Sarah here.

Dr. Qi Yin (2011)

Dr. Qi Yin in the field in China with our lizard race track.

Dr. Qi Yin visited the Lizard Lab for three months to analyse data we collected on our earlier trip to China (see lab blog), and to work on a Eulamprus cognition project. Qi Yin worked on the amazing Phrynocephalus vlangallifor his PhD, which has some of the most complex and spectacular tail waves imaginable.

Qi Yin is based at the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Martin and Dan are currently working with Qi Yin on lizard signalling projects in China.