Leigh Simmons

Professor, BSc PhD Nott.

  • The University of Western Australia (M084), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I received my PhD from Nottingham University in 1986 and held a series of postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Liverpool until 1995 when I moved to UWA. I received an ARC Federation Fellowship in 2004 and was elected to the Australian Academy in 2009. I am Editor of Advances in the Study of Behavior, and on the editorial board of Journal of Ethology.

My research uses both vertebrates and invertebrates to test the predictions and assumptions of theoretical models of sexual selection and life history evolution.
My current research is focussed on four areas: i) sperm competition and paternal effects mediated via seminal fluid; ii) the evolution of animal genitalia; iii) natural and sexual selection acting on insect cuticular lipids; and iv) the dung burial services provided by dung beetles. I am also engaged in research on sexual selection on humans. Collectively, these research programs seek to determine the direction and strength of selection acting on male and female reproductive strategies, and on the morphological and life history traits that contribute to fitness, from the whole organism to its gametes. My lab currently hosts collaborative research programs involving 8 PhD students and 1 postdoctoral researcher, and has hosted research fellows from Sweden, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, the US and the UK. Opportunities are available for researchers at all levels, and I encourage interested individuals to apply under the schemes outlined on our Courses page.

Available now

Naturalist on the Bibbulmun. By Leigh W. Simmons. UWA Press

Sexual Selection: A Vert Short Introduction. By Marlene Zuk and Leigh W Simmons. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Funding overview

Current Funding

ARC Discovery Project (2020-2022). Adaptive function of insect cuticular lipids

Meat & Livestock Australia (2017-2022). Dung beetle ecosystem engineers - enduring benefits for livestock and producers via science and a new community partnership model (with Evans, T., Didham, R., Kennington, J.)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Research expertise keywords

  • Behavioural ecology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Sperm competition
  • Sexual selection
  • Entomology
  • Insects
  • Evolutionary psychology


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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