We study the evolution of gametes and mating systems, conservation behaviour, captive nutrition and assisted reproductive technologies. EARL is led by A/Professor Phillip Byrne and Dr Aimee Silla at the University of Wollongong, Australia. EARL believes in integrated conservation, employing scientific research to aid species recovery. We have long-standing collaborations with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Taronga Zoo and Zoos Victoria.
A/Professor Phillip Byrne
I am an Evolutionary Biologist with an interest in Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Biology.
My interest in Behavioural Ecology revolves around understanding how the process of sexual selection can shape reproductive traits that determine fitness. My research in the field of sexual selection primarily uses frogs and insects as model systems to test predictions made by theoretical models. At present, I am particularly interested in understanding the evolutionary causes and consequences of mate choice, polyandry and sperm competition.
My interest in Conservation Biology is focused on using Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) as a tool for managing endangered species. I am also interested in assessing the impacts of human mediated environmental change on evolutionary processes that affect population viability.
Dr Aimee Silla
I am a Reproductive Biologist primarily focused on developing Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for the conservation of anurans. ART encompass a range of techniques that manipulate gametes for the purpose of controlling reproduction and enhancing fertility. My research includes manipulating hormone profiles to induce gamete-release, short-term gamete-storage, sperm cryopreservation, and artificial reproduction. I am also interested in comparative studies investigating response patterns among species, in order to expedite the application of ART to novel species.
My research also employs evolutionary theory to predict ART outcomes. In particular, I am interested in investigating phenotypic indicators of male fertility, gamete adaptation to localised fertilisation environments, and how parental genetic incompatibilities effect fertilisation.