New Publication


Big, enthusiastic Congratulations to Dani Eastick on her first, first-author publication.
Here, Dani provides new insight into the physiology of some helmeted Dinosaurs (bottom left) through…


…the study of helmeted cassowaries (above right)!
Cassowaries, and perhaps some Dinosaurs, used such appendages for
heat exchange with the environment, conserving body heat at low temperatures
and off-loading 8% of all body heat at the highest temperatures. Well done, Dani!

Dinosaur illustration by Zhao Chuang, the Scientific artist of PNSO, China;
the cassowary photo ©Kim Teltscher, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany
(both used with permission)

End of Year Wrap-up

It has been half a year since my last post; unsurprisingly, a lot has happened since mid-year.

Soon-to-be Doctor, Ryan Tisdale, has gone on a publishing spree with three chapters out this year alone:

  1. Spectral properties of brain activity under two anesthetics and their potential for inducing natural sleep in birds. Frontiers in Neuroscience 12, 881.
  2. The low-down on sleeping down low: pigeons shift to lighter forms of sleep when sleeping near the ground. Journal of Experimental Biology 221, 182634.
  3. Bird-like propagating brain activity in anesthetized Nile crocodiles. Sleep 41, zsy105.

And equally important is that Ryan’s dissertation is currently under review at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. An immensely productive year for Ryan, capped by a well-earned vacation!

ICN_afterCloser to home, I had the good fortune to organize a symposium for the International Congress of Neuroethology in Brisbane. Contributing to The Evolution of Sleep and Adaptive Sleeplessness Symposium was Barrett Klein (left) from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (USA), me, Mike Kelly (third from left) from The University of Western Australia, Perth, and Niels Rattenborg (right) from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen (Germany). After the meeting, we were fortunate to host Barrett back at La Trobe, where he gave two outstanding seminars and met up with the rest of the lab.

More recently, I chaired the Wild Sleep Symposium at the Wild Clocks 2018 meeting, superbly organized by Michaela Hau and Bart Kempenaers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. There, we heard from Paul Manger from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), David Samson from the University of Toronto (Canada), Anne Aulsebrook at nearby University of Melbourne, and Erica Stuber at Yale University (USA), and me. One of the best meetings I’ve attended and one that reunited old friends and opened new opportunities. A big thank you to Ela and Bart!


Lastly, I’ve taken a stab at writing for popular media. Annie and I teamed up for a piece at The Conversation answering sleepy questions from a very much awake 5-year-old named Lucinda in Canberra. She cleverly asked, Do animals sleep like people? Do snails sleep in their shells? Why doesn’t a whale drown when it sleeps? Great questions, Lucinda! You can read our responses here. I then tried outreach to somewhat older kids in the UK magazine, Science + Nature with The Science of Snooze.

On behalf of the Sleep Ecophysiology Group, have a lovely and safe Christmas and New Years, and a productive 2019!

New Publication

RSocOpenSciA BIG Congratulations to soon-to-be-Dr Alynn Martin from the University of Tasmania on her latest article! Here, Alynn provides a comprehensive investigation into the effects of mange on wombats in Narawntapu National Park.

Infrared thermographic analyses to measure heat loss from living animals, doubly labelled water to quantify field metabolic rates, accelerometry data logging to show changes in prominent behaviours, and fatty acid composition in various tissues. Wow!

How do wombats respond to increasing severity of mange? Read it to find out!

New Publication


Here, Linh and I give an invited review on the recent characterization of sleep in jellyfish by Nath et al. (2017) Current Biology.  Speaking of Linh…



Congratulations on graduating and for the next big steps in your life.  I still wish you were staying around for a PhD, but am excited to hear of your adventures to come.  You’re amazing!