Posts by Frere

New paper: A framework for the identification of long-term social avoidance in longitudinal datasets

Our new research paper is now out in Royal Society Open Science! We detail steps to generate a spatially explicit, iterative null model which can be used to identify non-random social avoidance in studies of social animals and apply it to two longitudinal datasets (Eastern water dragons (Intellegama lesueurii) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus)).

Superstar of STEM

It's official! Celine has been recognised as a 2017 "Superstar of Stem" by Science and Technology Australia (STA). In its inaugural program, STA has identified 30 of the nation’s "most dynamic scientists and technologists" and aims to raise the profile of women in STEM professions. What an amazing opportunity! The other 29 superstars are truly inspirational and it's an honour for Celine to named be amongst them!

New Publication

Take a look at some of our research which has just been published in Molecular Ecology. Our article “Archipelagos of the Anthropocene: rapid and extensive differentiation of native terrestrial vertebrates in a single metropolis” provides evidence for the rapid genetic and morphological differentiation of a native lizard (Intellagama lesueurii) at four parks within one city. Well done to Beth on her first publication. This research was featured in Brisbane Times.

Watch us on Totally Wild kid’s TV

Check out our feature on Channel 10’s kids TV show Totally Wild – We had a ball filming this for all the young scientists and conservationists in training out there! Fast forward to 4 mins 20 seconds for to see our detection dogs in action.

In the news

We've been so busy over the past few months. Check out this video on the work of our detection dogs.


Pippin's rescue on Channel 7.

Posted by Detection Dogs for Conservation on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New publications!

I’m very pleased to announce three new publications! In particular, I’m very excited about our natural history note in The Herpetological Bulletin which presents the first documented case of cannibalism in eastern water dragons. Honours candidate, Dan Nugent, captured this moment on camera, and this is his first publication. Well done to all.

Parks Alive 2015

Come along to the “Parks Alive” festival at Roma Street Parkland this weekend to learn more about our research on eastern water dragons! Celine will be presenting at 4pm on Saturday 22 August, and will lead a guided walk for those who would like to meet some of the local city slickers. This is a family friendly event, and you can find the full program here.


Behaviour conference 2015

Last week some of us flew to Cairns to attended "Behaviour 2015 conference" which was a joint meeting of the International Ethological Conference (IEC), Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB), Australasian Evolution Society (AES), and Australasia, New Zealand and Africa Region of Applied Ethology. It was a great opportunity to present our work and learn from leading researchers across the globe. Kasha was invited to present a poster on her work on the social lives of eastern water dragons (see pic below), and Celine made an oral presentation on her recently published work undertaken in collaboration with Martin Whiting, on polyandry. Congratulations to organisers and participants for an exciting few days.

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May 2015

Wondering what we’ve been up to lately? Check out these fieldwork stats!


April 2015

Our fieldwork season on Qld water dragons is almost coming to an end for another year. It’s been exhausting and exhilarating! Here is one of our favorite photos snapped over the past few months. Great photo by Dan.

March 2015

Our new research (undertaken in collaboration with Martin Whiting and his lizard lab at Macquarie University) about polyandry in eastern water dragons has now been published in Ecology and Evolution! We showed that female polyandry was the norm, and found no evidence that females favor less related males, or that less related males had higher fitness.

In other news, check out this friendly encounter between Honours candidate Dan and a dragon he encountered at Roma Street Parkland.

February 2015

It’s going to be another exciting and busy 12 months. A few weeks ago we welcomed PhD candidates Alexis Levengood and Carme Piza Roca to our research group. We’ve also had a couple of papers accepted for publication over the break. The first, which describes the efficiency of detection dogs for koala conservation is already online here.

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Say cheese! Dragons can do fieldwork too! USC PhD candidate Kasha caught this great moment last week.

January 2015

Happy New Year! Next month we’ll be providing an update about our research and volunteer opportunities to all those interested from the University of the Third Age Sunshine Coast. We’re excited!

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December 2014

Cane toads be gone! Dan removed this large cane toad from a male dragon in Brisbane’s CBD… but not before capturing this amazing close up image.

November 2014

Our summer field season has begun! Over the next six months we will be busy recording information on eastern water dragons in Brisbane and across the Sunshine Coast! Here are some of the amazing creatures spotted by Celine and Beth in their adventures at Alexandra Headlands.


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October 2014

Check out Celine’s latest collaborative research article on the finless porpoise which was recently published in Scientific Reports. This research suggests that the current patterns of genetic diversity of this species vary on a temporal and spatial scale.

September 2014

Our new research article “The social life of eastern water dragons: sex differences, spatial overlap and genetic relatedness” about the Eastern Water Dragons of Roma Street Parkland has now been published in Animal Behaviour. Our research shows that these dragons exhibit evidence of social structure, but do not preferentially associate with family members.

August 2014

Thanks to everyone who came along to our talk at the ‘Parks Alive’ festival at Roma Street Parkland. We had a great time sharing our research despite the weather!

July 2014

Check out our newest article with collaborators at the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit here. The paper presents estimates of genetic diversity and differentiation for two inshore dolphin species found in north-western Australia ,and the first reported hybridisation of snubfin and humpback dolphins. Watch video of the hybrid dolphin below and check out MUCRU’s website for more about this exciting research.

May 2014

See our latest article just published in PLoS One which outlines our pioneering approach to photo-identification in eastern water dragons and describes fine scale movements of individual dragons in a population at Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane’s CBD. We found that male eastern water dragons (Intellagama leuseurii) have home ranges one and a half times larger than those of females, and we found intraspecific differences in the size of home ranges depending on the time of the day.

April 2014 

Kasha and Bethan are getting stuck into their research. Kasha has started to investigate the effects of relatedness on the social environment of Eastern Water Dragons at Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane. Bethan is compiling a distribution map for dragons on the Sunshine Coast.

March 2014

We’ve just had our latest paper entitled “A face in the crowd: a non-invasive and cost effective photo-identification methodology to understand the fine scale movement of eastern water dragons” accepted for publication in PLoS One! Well done Riana, Eric, Luke and Kasha for all the hard work!

January 2014 

Congratulations to Bethan and Kasha on both being awarded Pro Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarships to undertake research on Eastern Water Dragons at the University of Sunshine Coast 2014-17!

December 2013

Thanks Riana and Bethan for another great Summer field season (Sept – Dec) in Roma Street Parkland!