michelleHall_mainAn interest in animal behaviour acquired while growing up in South Africa led me to study science for my undergraduate degree at the Australian National University (1992), where I completed an Honours project investigating the function of duetting in Australian magpie-larks (friends studying economics and physics were bemused that someone could enjoy their university study so much). After a few years in the ‘real world’, I returned to research to further pursue my fascination with magpie-lark duets, completing a PhD at the Australian National University (2001), supervised by Prof Robert Magrath. I then moved to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA for a postdoctoral position, and developed my skills in bioacoustic research by working on the communication system of banded wrens in Costa Rica with Prof Sandra Vehrencamp (2002-2005).

An offer of a post-doc with Dr Anne Peters at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (2006-2010) led me to abandon my migratory lifestyle, and return to duetting and a few new and fascinating topics particularly relevant to purple-crowned fairy-wrens, like the timing of breeding in tropical birds, and dispersal patterns in patchy habitat. My time in this remote and idyllic Kimberley region of northwestern Australia unfortunately came to an end, but I was lucky enough to find a similarly interesting fairy-wren to study on the opposite end of the continent. I currently work with A/Prof Raoul Mulder at the University of Melbourne studying individual differences in the behaviour of superb fairy-wrens, in collaboration with Prof Niels Dingemanse and Prof Bart Kempenaers.

 

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