Nathan W Burke | Evolutionary Ecologist

I am a PhD graduate from the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. My research investigates why costly sexual reproduction is so common in the animal kingdom. I am particularly interested in understanding how interactions between the sexes (involving, for example, mate rejection, sexually antagonistic coevolution, and mate scarcity) shape the evolution of facultative strategies that incorporate both sexual and asexual reproduction.

I use the facultatively parthenogenetic spiny leaf stick insect (Extatosoma tiaratum) and Hurricane Larry stick insect (Sipyloidea larryi) as model organisms to investigate these ideas empirically, and individual-based modelling to generate new theory.

More recently, I have been interested in the relationship between sexual cannibalism and parthenogenesis in the springbok mantis (Miomantis caffra), which I am currently investigating with colleagues at the University of Auckland. My current interests also include transgenerational plasticity and parental effects, and the role that sexual conflict plays in generating the enormous diversity of such effects in nature.