Dr. Nathan William Burke
Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Hamburg, Germany (with Prof. Jutta Schneider)
2022 to present
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Auckland, New Zealand (with Assoc. Prof. Greg Holwell)
2019 to 2021
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of New South Wales, Australia (with Prof. Shinichi Nakagawa)
PhD Candidate in Evolutionary Ecology
University of New South Wales, Australia (with Prof. Russell Bonduriansky)
2014 to 2018
Bachelor’s Student in Science (Ecology)
University of New South Wales, Australia
2010 to 2013
I am an evolutionary ecologist and Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow, broadly interested in life history evolution, reproductive strategies, and sexual selection and conflict. My current research investigates sexual antagonism in the Springbok mantis (Miomantis caffra). Females of this species attack and cannibalise males without mating, but males fight back to improve their chance of mating by wrestling females in pre-mating struggles that cause serious injury to females. My research investigates the causes and consequences of these antagonistic interactions.
My other research interests include understanding how interactions between the sexes (mate rejection, sexual conflict, mate scarcity) contribute to the maintenance of obligate sex. My work on this topic has mostly focused on facultative parthenogens—species that engage in both sexual and asexual reproduction—including the charismatic Australian spiny leaf stick insect (Extatosoma tiaratum), the Hurricane Larry stick insect (Sipyloidea larryi), and the Peppermint stick insect (Megacrania batesii). I also use individual-based models to generate new theory.
Burke, N. W. and Holwell, G. 2023. Should females cannibalise with or without mating in the facultatively parthenogenetic Springbok mantis? Animal Behaviour, 197: 113-121
Burke, N. W. and Holwell, G. 2023. Costs and benefits of polyandry in a sexually cannibalistic mantis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 36: 412-423
Burke, N. W. and Bonduriansky, R. 2022. Sexually but not parthenogenetically produced females benefit from sexual reproduction in a stick insect. Functional Ecology, 36(8): 2001-2014.
Pollo, P., Burke, N. W. and Holwell, G. (2021). Effects of male and female personality on sexual cannibalism in the Springbok mantis. Animal Behaviour 182: 1-7.
Burke, N. W. and Holwell, G. (2021). Male coercion and female injury in a sexually cannibalistic mantis. Biology Letters 16: 0200811.
Burke, N. W. and Holwell, G. (2021). Increased male mating success in the presence of prey and rivals in a sexually cannibalistic mantis. Behavioral Ecology 32: 574–579.
Burke, N. W. and Bonduriansky, R. (2019). Exposure to juvenile males during development suppresses female capacity for parthenogenesis in a stick insect. Animal Behaviour 154: 85–94.
Burke, N. W. and Bonduriansky, R. (2019). The paradox of obligate sex: the roles of sexual conflict and mate scarcity in transitions to facultative and obligate asexuality. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32: 1230–1241.
Burke, N. W. and Bonduriansky, R. (2018). The geography of sex: sexual conflict, environmental gradients, and local loss of sex in facultatively parthenogenetic animals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373: 20170422.
Burke, N. W. and Bonduriansky, R. (2018). The fitness effects of delayed switching to sex in a facultatively asexual insect. Ecology and Evolution 8: 2698–2711.
Burke, N. W. and Bonduriansky, R. (2017). Sexual conflict, facultative asexuality, and the true paradox of sex. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 32: 646–652.
Burke, N. W., Crean, A. J. and Bonduriansky, R. (2015). The role of sexual conflict in the evolution of facultative parthenogenesis: a study on the spiny leaf stick insect. Animal Behaviour 101: 117–127.