My interests are broad, but my core interest focuses on social behaviours of animals, and their behavioural adaptations to environmental change, like climate change and urbanization. My work uses approaches from the fields of behaviour, molecular ecology, genetics, and population and demographic modelling based on a thorough understanding of animals in the wild.



  • BZ3061: Behavioural Ecology (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ3230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 3; TSV)
  • BZ5061: Behavioural Ecology (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ5230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5202: Quantitative Methods in Science (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • SC5502: Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • Cooperation and competition among relatives: Individuals in viscous populations (with limited dispersal) live in close proximity with kin, allowing for cooperation among relatives. However, living with relatives can also be costly because of the high risk of inbreeding and the fact that individuals compete with their own kin for space and resources. In 2008, I set-up a new field-based study system on cooperatively breeding red-winged fairy-wrens (Malurus elegans) in south-west WA. All 10 Australian fairy-wrens are cooperative breeders with males staying with their parents to help rear the next brood. In my study species females too stay at home, making this system very suitable to study both the costs and benefits of living with kin. This study has not only resulted in new insights on costs and benefits of group living, but also on some of the sophisticated behaviours that these birds show to avoid these. This study has become a long-term study which allowed us to investigate how changes in climate drives changes in fitness and is now also part of several global scale comparative/meta-analyses on the effects of e.g. climate change. Data from such populations as this one are particularly important, because long-term studies on southern hemisphere species are relatively scarce.
  • Explaining inter- and intraspecific variation in behaviour and ecology: Comparing traits within and among species can be a powerful tool to get a better understanding of the variation that exists in the natural world. The fairy-wrens (genus Malurus) are an iconic model system in evolutionary ecology and one of the best-studied bird genera. A large-scale collaboration has resulted in detailed long-term data on 10 species from >20 populations from a single genus. This is an ideal system to investigate inter- and intraspecific variation in ecology and behaviour, without the problems encountered by many other systems where associations might be confounded by phylogeny. For example, we have completed the world’s first comprehensive test of many of the key ecological hypotheses concerning why individuals, populations and closely related species vary in their degree of promiscuity, tested the longstanding idea that conspicuous plumage increases predation risk, and several new projects are on the way. At a global scale, published data can be used for large scale comparative studies. For example, in recent work we combined data from >500 published studies of >300 bird species on promiscuous (extra-pair) mating to examine the patterns with respect to taxonomy, phylogeny and global regions and test the role of several life history and ecological variables.
  • Effects of urbanization on social behaviour and population dynamics: Urbanization involves a drastic change of the environment and is considered one of the most important threats to biodiversity. Although there is lots of attention on how urbanization has affected behavioural changes, the effects on intra-specific behaviours like cooperation and competition has been neglected, despite its importance for fitness. In this EU funded project I use a citizen science approach, combined with new experiments to investigate the underlying mechanisms of changes in social behaviours and the long term population consequences due to urbanization.
  • 2021 to present - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2020 to 2021 - Assistant Professor, Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
  • 2018 to 2020 - EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
  • 2017 - Research Fellow, Centre for Avian Migration and Demography (NIOO-KNAW) (Wageningen, Netherlands)
  • 2013 to 2017 - ARC DECRA Fellow, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia)
  • 2010 to 2012 - Post-doctoral Fellow, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia)
  • 2008 to 2010 - NWO Rubicon Fellow, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia)
  • 2008 - Visiting Fellow, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway)
  • 2008 - Visiting scholar, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Rostock, Germany)
  • 2007 - Visiting Fellow, University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK)
  • 2003 to 2007 - PhD, University of Groningen (Groningen, Netherlands)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2018 to 2020 - EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship
  • 2013 to 2017 - Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
  • 2008 to 2010 - Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research Fellowship
  • 2008 - Max Planck Society visiting scholarship
  • 2007 - Journal of Experimental Biology travel grant
  • 2021 - Associate Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences
  • 2020 - Associate Editor for Emu-Austral Ornithology

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 33+ research outputs authored by Dr Lyanne Brouwer from 2009 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Birds Queensland - Research Grant

Monitoring endangered black throated finches at the Townsville coastal plains

Indicative Funding
$7,303 over 1 year
The objectives of the proposed work are to map the current distribution of the endangered southern black throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta) in the Townsville coastal plain area. In addition, we will provide nestboxes to determine whether this could be a solution to alleviate a shortage of natural nest cavities. This project will allow us to re-establish a field project focused on the black throated finches and install key infrastructure that will significantly improve our knowledge on the current distribution of the Townsville population of the black throated finch and improve our ability to compete for national competitive research funding.
Lyanne Brouwer and Simon Griffith (College of Science & Engineering and Macquarie University)
black throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta); Conservation; Endangered Species

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Patterns, drivers, and consequences of pheromone variation in Australian gecko radiations. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The role of Social behaviour as a Buffer to Impacts of Climate Change: a Field Study in Fairy-wrens (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • How intraspecific variation shapes the climates sensitivities of species (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Can parental care and breeding microhabitat protect montane nursery frogs from rising temperatures? (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

  • 142.208, The Science Place (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor
Find me on…
Icon for external homepage Icon for Google Scholar profile Icon for Scopus Author page Icon for ORCID profile Icon for ResearchGate profile

Similar to me

  1. Prof Peter Hofman
    JCU Singapore
  2. Dr Georgina Gurney
    Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences
  3. A/Prof Matthew Tan
    College of Science & Engineering
  4. Prof Tiffany Morrison
    Earth & Environmental Science
  5. Dr Martijn van de Pol
    Physical Sciences