A/Prof Robbie Wilson

University of Queensland


Twitter - @drrobbiewilson



Research History

After completing my BSc at the University of Sydney,  I came up to Queensland to pursue my Honours. An equipment malfunction that could have ruined my degree instead gave me some pretty great data, resulting in a publication that's still one of my most-cited.

I then continued on with a PhD at UQ, under the tutelage of Craig Franklin, who had then just started in the school. My time in Craig's lab included two incredible trips to Antarctica, where we studied the physiology of fish who live at -4degC.

I completed my PhD on the acclimation and performance of striped marsh frogs in 2000 and accepted a postdoctoral research position at the University of Antwerp. There I studied performance tradeoffs with Raoul Van Damme (and others) for two years, learning (sadly) that Belgian beers give me a fierce headache.

After Belgium, I spent a year at the University of St Andrews, in eastern Scotland, where I worked with thermal physiologist, Ian Johnston, and once exchanged waves with Prince William - who was a new student there. Scotland was very, very cold.

In 2004, I returned to UQ as a postdoctoral researcher to continue my research in thermal acclimation. A year later, I was hired as a continuing academic - my dream job in my dream place. And here I am.

Research Interests

It's tough to sum up my research interests in a short paragraph, but in general I'm interested in performance. Sometimes this relates to behaviour, sometimes to physiology. I don't like to pigeon-hole myself as one type of scientist or the other. I ask ecological and evolutionary questions in such varied systems as human skill, crustacean signalling, and climate change


Personal Interests

My main passions outside of work revolve around watching and playing football and doing my best to indoctrinate my 5-year old daughter into the game. I love traveling, movies, and game theory. My most impressive achievements in life are convincing Amanda that I would make a worthwhile life partner and then together producing such a beautiful little girl (Nelle). Well done me, well done us

Research Funding

2013 ALC Grant $240,000
Manganese and Wildlife on Groote Eylandt, NT

2012-2014 ARC Discovery Grant - $370,000
Epigenetics of Thermal Adaptation with Frank Seebacher (U Syd) and Jean Clobert (CERMS, France)

2009 UQ Teaching Grant - $30,000


 2007-2009 ARC Linkage Grant - $400,000
Conservation Biodiversity during Urbanisation: Effectiveness of Green Development Practices in SE Queensland

2006 UQ Enabling Grant - $30,000

2005 UQ Early Career Research Grant - $25,000

2003-2006 ARC Discovery Grant - $290,000

Testing the Adaptive Benefits of Physiological Acclimation


Selected Publications

Angilletta, MJ and Wilson RS. 2012. Cryptic asymmetry: unreliable signals mask asymmetric performance of crayfish weapons. Biology Letters (online ahead of print Mar 2012: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.0029 1744-957X).

Adriaenssens B, Van Damme R, Seebacher F & Wilson RS. 2012. Sex cells in changing environments: can organisms adjust the physiological function of gametes to different temperatures? Global Change Biology 18(6): 1797-1803.

Wilson, RS, Hammill, E, Johnston IA. 2007. Competition moderates the benefits of thermal acclimation to reproductive performance in male eastern mosquitofish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B. (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.0401)

Wilson, RS, Angilletta, MJ., James, RS, Navas, C & F. Seebacher. 2007. Dishonest signals of strength in male slender crayfish (Cherax dispar) during agonistic interactions. The American Naturalist. (In press) (accepted Jan 2007)

Carter, A. & RS Wilson. 2006. Improving sneaky-sex in a low oxygen environment: reproductive and physiological responses of male mosquito fish to chronic hypoxia. Journal of Experimental Biology. 209:4878-4884.

Seebacher, F. & RS Wilson. 2006. Fighting fit: Thermal plasticity of metabolic function and fighting success in the crayfish Cherax destructor. Functional Ecology 20: 1045-1053.

Wilson, RS and RS James. 2004. Constraints on muscular performance: trade-offs between power output and fatigue-resistance in skeletal muscle. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 271: S222-S225.

Van Damme, R, RS Wilson, B. Van Hooydonck and P. Aerts. 2002. Performance constraints in decathletes. Nature 415:755-756.

Wilson, RS and CE Franklin. 2002. Testing the Beneficial Acclimation Hypothesis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17:66-70