People

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A/Professor Phillip Byrne -Principal Investigator ¦ Senior Lecturer

Phil completed his PhD investigating the causes and consequences of mating system variation in anurans in 2002 at the University of Western Australia. He has held postdoctoral positions at the University of California Santa Barbara, Australian National University, University of Witvatersrand, and Monash University before taking up an academic position at the University of Wollongong. To read about Dr Byrne’s research interests click here.


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Dr Aimee Silla -Principal Investigator ¦ Postdoctoral Fellow

Aimee completed her PhD developing assisted reproductive technologies for the conservation of anuran amphibians in 2013 at the University of Western Australia. She extended her research on ART between 2010-2012 at Monash University and currently holds her second ARC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wollongong. To read about Dr Silla’s research interests click here.


Dr Christopher Friesen  ¦ Postdoctoral Fellow

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Chris received his PhD from Oregon State University working on postcopulatory sexual selection and sexual conflict in garter snakes. He is also very interested in the energetics of courtship and mating and during his first postdoc started to think more holistically about how energy allocation toward sexual competition and reproduction more generally might affect reproductive tactics and other life history traits such as lifespan. During his​ postdoc at the University of Sydney working on sperm-egg interactions in cane toads, he have come to appreciate how geographic variation across a species’ range can be harnessed for intraspecific comparative studies. These experiences led to his current fascination with environmental drivers of geographic variation in, and the physiological underpinnings of sexual selected and life history traits, which forms the basis of hia Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship research here at UOW.


Shannon Kelleher- PhD student (2017 – present)

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla & Dr David Hunter

Project: Conservation from a behavioural perspective: Understanding patterns of individual behavioural variation and intersexual selection to assist with the captive breeding and reintroduction of the critically endangered corroboree frog


Michael McFadden – PhD student (2016 – present, 0.5 FTE)

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla & Dr David Hunter

Project: Improving the output of Australian ex-situ conservation breeding programs for threatened amphibian recovery


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Deon Gilbert – PhD student (2015 – present, 0.5FTE)

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla & Dr Michael Mcgrath

Project: The Influence of Temperature on the Growth, Development and Fitness of the Critically Endangered Baw Baw Frog


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Nathan Butterworth – PhD student (2015 – 2020)

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne & A/Prof James Wallman

Project: The role of cuticular chemicals in the small hairy maggot blowfly Chrysomya varipes


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Daniel O’Brien – PhD student (2014 – 2020)

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla &  Prof Scott Keogh

Project: Investigating the Evolution of Polyandry in an Australian Myobatrachid: Pseudophryne coriacea  


Emma McInerney – PhD student (2015 – 2020)emma-mcinerney-copy

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne & Dr Aimee Silla

Project: The influence of dietary carotenoids on the growth, development, colouration, performance and reintroduction success of the critically endangered Southern Corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree)


Sara Walton – honours student (2019)69218581_1187346538135010_7508002948266328064_n

Supervisors: A/Prof Phil Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla

Project: Survival of the Brightest- investigating dose-related effects of β-Carotene on the colouration of the Southern Corroboree Frog


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Leesa Keogh – PhD student (2014 – 2018)

Supervisors: Dr Aimee Silla & Dr Phil Byrne

Project: Developing Assisted Reproductive Technologies: a state of the ‘ART’ approach to amphibian conservation


Stephanie Courtney Jones – PhD student (2013 – 2017)

Supervisors: Dr Phil Byrne & Assoc. Prof. James Wallmanskj

Project: Freeing the phenotype: Generating phenotypic variation to improve animal reintroduction success.


Thomas Marsden- honours student (2017)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Aimee Silla

Project: The influence of dietary carotenoids on the foraging behaviour of the Southern Corroboree Frog, Pseudophryne corroboree


Shannon Kelleher- honours student (2016)

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Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Aimee Silla

Project: Investigating animal personality and behavioural syndromes in the critically endangered Southern Corroboree Frog, Pseudophryne corroboree


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Blake Dawson- honours student (2016)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Assoc. Prof. James Wallman

Project: Examining female mate choice and the phenotype linked fertility hypothesis in the small hairy maggot blowfly, Chrysomya varipes


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Brian Kearney – PhD student (2008 – 2016)

Supervisors:  Dr Richard Reiner & Dr Phil Byrne

Project: Developmental sensitivity, acclimation and adaptation to elevated salinity in South-East Australian Anurans


Casey Edwards- honours student (2015)

Supervisors:   Dr Aimee Silla, Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Peter Harlowcasey

Project: The influence of dietary carotenoid supplementation on the composition of cutaneous bacterial communities  of the critically endangered Southern Corroboree frog, Pseudophryne corroboree


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Emma McInerney- honours student (2015)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Aimee Silla

Project: The influence of carotenoid supplementation at different life-stages on the foraging and antipredatory behaviour of the Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree): a test of the Silver Spoon and Environmental Matching Hypotheses


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Stephanie Jones- honours student (2014)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Assoc. Prof. James Wallman

Project: Investment in reproductive traits with a focus on blowflies: are there trade-offs?


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Joseph Bailey- honours student (2014)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Aimee Silla

Project: The effect of carotenoid supplementation at different life-stages on the colouration, growth and development of the southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree)


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Stephen Heap – PhD student (2009 – 2013)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Devi Stuart-Fox

Project: Sampling the social environment in an uncertain world


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Leesa Keogh- honours student (2013)

Supervisors:  Dr Aimee Silla & Dr Phil Byrne

Project: Antiobiotics and oxygen availability affect the short-term storage of spermatozoa from the critically endangered booroolong frog, Litoria booroolongensis


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Craig Dunne- honours student (2013)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Aimee Silla

Project: Inter-population variation of sperm traits in the common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera): the influence of environmental osmolality


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Christina Faddy-Vrouwe- honours student (2012)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr David Hunter

Project: Temperature preference in the larvae of the Booroolong Frog (Litoria booroolongensis): a field and laboratory study


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Ingrid Errington- honours student (2012)

Supervisors:   Dr Phil Byrne & Dr Peter Harlow

Project: Temperature, growth and development in an alpine frog (Litoria booroolongensis)