Renee Firman

Dr, BSc PhD W.Aust.

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

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I have examined the evolutionary consequences of sperm competition for male and female reproductive physiology in house mice (Mus domesticus), at the whole organism and gametic levels. I have combined field based population approaches with experimental evolution in the laboratory, and used novel in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technologies to explore the hypothesis that sperm competition generates sexual conflict over fertilisation. Currently, I am interested in determining whether males and/or females use paternity biasing mechanisms to increase the production of male or female offspring under specific conditions. I also tend to explore the phenomenon of sexual conflict (misalignment of mother/sire interests) over sex allocation among offspring. My most recent investigations have extended to the native sandy inland mouse (Pseudomys hermannsburgensis). I intend to further develop my studies of native species in the future.

Funding overview

2014-2016: Australian Research Council (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award; Fellowship/project funding; $393 000)

2014: UWA Research Collaboration Award ($17 000)

2010-2012: Australian Research Council (Postdoctoral Fellowship and Discovery Project; $390 000)

2009/2011: UWA Research Development Award ($30 000)

2010/2013: Fortescue Metals Group Pty. Ltd. Research Contribution ($50 000)

2010: Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Research Grant (£5 000)

Previous positions

2013 UWA Postdoctoral Researcher
2010-2012 Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (UWA)
2009 Centre for Evolutionary Biology (UWA) Postdoctoral Researcher

Current projects

1. Sperm competition and adaptive sex allocation (collaborator: Dr Paco Garcia-Gonzalez, Donaña Biological Station, Sevilla, Spain)

2. In vitro sperm competition and sperm selection in house mice (collaborator: Prof Leigh Simmons, University of Western Australia)

3. Polyandry and a selfish genetic element in house mice (collaborator: Dr Anna Lindholm, University of Zurich, Switzerland)

4. Mating systems and ovulation mode among mammals (collaborator: Dr Ines Klemme, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

5. Mating systems and gene expression in house mice (collaborator: A/Prof Matt Dean, University of Southern California, USA)

Teaching overview

2011-2013 Experimental Biology 4404 (Supervisor for research component)


The evolutionary implications of sperm competition in mammals

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 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Postcopulatory sexual selection
  • Sperm competition
  • Selective fertilisation
  • Adaptive sex allocation
  • Mammals
  • House mice
  • Native rodents


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