Welcome to the Animal Behaviour and Ecology Lab (ABEL) @UNE

Animal behaviour and ecology are exciting research areas that combine a range of informative disciplines, from natural history observation combined with field-based research, through to using the latest technology in finely controlled laboratory settings to monitor small details.


Ultimately, researchers in this lab are interested in understanding both how and why animals behave the way that they do. We focus largely on birds, but research is conducted on whichever focal species is required to answer the question at hand.


This research has seen lab members tackle questions such as why animals might cooperate with each other, what information is contained and acted upon within acoustic signals, right through to how the behaviour of a species can impact the conservation and management of entire ecosystems. Our research can be entirely blue sky or linked to specific applied problems, and cover a range of taxa.


Regardless of the precise question, we believe that understanding the behaviour of an animal is critical to gaining a full picture of its ecology and biology.


See the above links to learn more about our Research, Members, Publications, the Botswanan Study Tour and ways that you can become involved!



Lab News

  • Some good news from recent times:
    • Congratulations to Dr Geoffrey Hughes and Dr Jarrod Mesken, both of whom successfully completed and obtained their PhD thesis early in 2022! Well done to you both! Look out for forthcoming publications on Geoff's Bell's Turtle project and Jarrod's investigation of 3D printed model stimuli that are coming soon.
    • Some 2022 publications that have recently become available include papers on turtle nest protection structures (in press), and an assessment of how important access to anthropomorphic food is for modulating Noisy Miner aggression.


Interested in a fully funded PhD stipend?

We currently have a PhD stipend and Top-up Scholarship available for a student to work with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust on assessing biodiversity using acoustic indices. See our Opportunities page and contact Paul for more details.


For more information, contact Prof. Paul McDonald