• The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 12886 Citations
  • 63 h-Index
1992 …2022

Research output per year

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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-in-Chief of the journal Behavioral Ecology, 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.
I currently hold two ARC Discovery Project grants that fund research into sperm competition and the evolution of multiple mating by females using insects, mice and frogs as model systems. 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 7 PhD students and 6 postdoctoral researchers, and has hosted research fellows from Sweden, Finland, Spain, Switzerland 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

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


Funding overview

Current Funding

ARC Discovery Project (2016-2019). Paternal effects: non-genetic inheritance via seminal fluid?

ARC Discovery Project (2017-2019). Evolution of the mammalian baculum.

Teaching overview

Behavioural Ecology (ANIM3365)
Evolutionary Biology (ANIM5502)


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

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Research Output

A link between heritable parasite resistance and mate choice in dung beetles

Buzatto, B. A., Kotiaho, J. S., Assis, L. A. F. & Simmons, L. W., 28 Sep 2019, In : Behavioral Ecology. 30, 5, p. 1382-1387 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Ecological determinants of sex roles and female sexual selection

    Hare, R. M. & Simmons, L. W., 16 Dec 2019, Advances in the Study of Behavior. Netherlands: Elsevier, (Advances in the Study of Behavior).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

  • Experimental evolution reveals divergence in female genital teeth morphology in response to sexual conflict intensity in a moth

    McNamara, K. B., Dougherty, L. R., Wedell, N. & Simmons, L. W., 1 May 2019, In : Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 32, 5, p. 519-524 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Citations (Scopus)

    Female cuticular hydrocarbons can signal indirect fecundity benefits in an insect

    Berson, J. D. & Simmons, L. W., 1 May 2019, In : Evolution. 73, 5, p. 982-989 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 4 Citations (Scopus)