As befits a research group who are interested in the process of evolution, the activities of Team Bufo are themselves evolving. Over the last several years many students have come and gone, and many projects have been formulated, conducted and completed. Inevitably, the results of one project often suggest new lines of investigation, and sometimes reveal major new opportunities.
This makes for a lot of change, both in the work being done and the
people who are doing the work. Honours students are only around for a
year, and Ph D students for about three years, before they obtain their
degrees and move on to other phases of their careers. But postdoctoral
fellows (“postdocs”) tend to stay a bit longer – indeed, Greg Brown has been involved with Rick’s research program for more
than fifteen years - and the postdocs are the people in charge of running
the main research programs. So, we’ve organised this webpage around the
scientific activities of current and recent postdocs, and including the
work of their students within the main pages. Often, a particular
student will work with several postdocs, and a particular postdoc will
work with several students - so it’s all pretty arbitrary as to where
some of the students have ended up on this page!
Below are five postdoctoral fellows who are currently part of Team Bufo (or in some cases, have recently left - but we’re still working closely with them so we’ll keep them in the list!).
Dr Ben Phillips
has very broad interests, including mathematical modelling as well as
field biology. He has spent the last few years trying to understand how
the process of invasion - like the cane toad’s invasion through
Australia – affects both the invader itself, and the native species. Ben is no longer based at Sydney University, but we are still working very closely with him.
One of the major complications in understanding cane toads and their impact is the toad’s complicated life-history – including eggs and tadpoles in the water as well as larger toads hopping around on dry land. Dr Michael Crossland’s passion is the biology of those aquatic stages. While most of the rest of us look at toads on dry land, Michael conducts field and laboratory studies on toad tadpoles, and their interactions with native species.
has been living near Fogg Dam for more than fifteen years, and for much of that time his main research was on snake ecology. But Greg is fascinated by the invasion of cane toads, and so has added these creatures to his list of study animals. He has now radio-tracked literally hundreds of cane toads, as well as conducting detailed laboratory-based investigations of topics such as the immune systems of toads.
Another snake biologist who changed to include toads in her studies is
Dr Ligia Pizzatto.
Ligia’s special interest is the relationship between toads, native
frogs, and the small lungworms that can infect both types of animals.
Like most members of Team Bufo, she conducted her research both in the
laboratory and in the field. Ligia now works at another institution, but we are still collaborating.
Unlike the other postdoctoral fellows we have listed on this page,
Dr Jonathan Webb
is based in Sydney not Fogg Dam. But Jonno spends much of his time up
in the tropics, as part of his research on the interactions between cane
toads and native mammals. Much of Jonno’s current work (when he’s not
fishing!) involves experimental studies to test the feasibility of
teaching native predators to leave toads alone rather than try to eat
them. Jonno is now based at the University of Technology Sydney, just down the road from his old haunts at Sydney University.