Our ethos, in short

(1) Questions over organisms. We work with a wonderful array of living things, and the world of invertebrates is an enduring source of inspiration, but it is questions that ultimately drive our work.

(2) Be kind, supportive, and generous. We share knowledge, ideas, time, resources, and tools freely wherever possible. This extends not only to the lab, but as active members of SOLES and the community at large. Collaboration is a far more productive force than competition and there are too many interesting questions to be answered to waste time defending intellectual turf.

(3) Be productive. I will do all I can to provide the resources and guidance that lab members’ require to drive a project to completion; from the initial development of ideas, through the design of experiments, to the communication of results. Irrespective of career stage — be it undergraduate or PhD — everyone has ultimate ownership and responsibility for their work. Your hard work deserves to be shared with the world, so a project is never truly complete until it is published!


Certain skills are now invaluable in science and will serve you well no matter the trajectory your career takes. No-one is expected to have these skills before joining the lab, and I’ll gladly support all in learning and developing them:

  • Code: We use R (paired with RStudio, for simplicity) extensively. Python and (increasingly) Julia are also useful for scientific work, but R is ubiquitous in biology. The learning curve can be steep but it will save a great deal of time and hassle in the long run.
  • Version control: Git with Github are excellent tools for managing your manuscripts and data, as well as collaboration and sharing.
  • Communication: Writing and speaking are hard, and require continual practice.

Open philosophy

Science is a public good and we strive to ensure that the fruits of our work are freely available. The specifics will vary case-by-case, and we respect any constraints that others work under, but we seek to make all raw data, code, and publications publicly accessible in a convenient format.


Everyone deserves to enjoy their time unhindered by unnecessary challenges. No-one should be subject to any form of harassment or discrimination including, but not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, deliberate intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussions, inappropriate physical contact, or unwelcome attention. If you or someone you know does encounter such problems, however, you are strongly encouraged to contact any one of, as appropriate: me, your co-supervisor(s), emergency services (000, or 9351 3333 for 24-hour campus security), SOLES education, university complaints services (including their anonymous helpline), or university mental and physical health services.

Work and health

We are all self-motivated, so lab members set their own working hours. I only ask that everyone be available for lab meetings, seminars, and other school/university/community-related events whenever possible. Everyone is free to send emails or messages at any time with no expectation to receive a reply outside of others’ normal working hours.