Dr William Feeney

UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow




Twitter - @williamefeeney

Instagram - @samsonvalebirdproject




Research History and Interests

UQ Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Queensland (2015 - 2019) 

Fulbright Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California, Berkeley (2015 - 2016) 

Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cambridge (2015)

PhD, Australian National University (2011 - 2014)

Grad Dip Res Meth, James Cook University (2009 - 2010)

BSc, University of Queensland (2003 - 2006)

After finishing my BSc at the University of Queensland (2006), it took a year playing music, another working as a tour guide in the Northern Territory and a failed attempt at a bicycle ride around Australia before I realised that research was where I wanted to be. 

I then moved up to Townsville where I completed a Graduate Diploma in Research Methods at James Cook University (2010). During this time I worked under Prof Mark McCormick on aspects of the ecology and evolution of predator-prey relationships in coral reef fishes. This experience was a revelation to me and the prospect of further research into the ecology and evolution of species interactions captured my imagination.

After sunny Townsville I moved to chilly Canberra, where I worked as a research assistant before completing my PhD at the Australian National University (2014). My PhD research focused on understanding aspects of the evolutionary 'arms race' between the brood parasitic Horsfield's bronze-cuckoo and its superb fairy-wren host, under Dr Naomi Langmore. 

Since completing my PhD, I have held (or currently hold) fellowships at the University of Cambridge (Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015); University of California, Berkeley (Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015 - 2016) and the University of Queensland (UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015 - 2019) where I've continued my work on understanding the ecology and evolution of species interactions in birds and coral reef fishes.

Personal Interests

I love the beaches near Brisbane and try to spend as much time in the surf as possible. Outside of work, I enjoy playing sport and spending time with family, friends and food. I've also been really lucky to travel a lot lately.

Selected Publications 

Feeney WE, Troscianko J, Langmore NE, Spottiswoode CN (2015) Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalised defences in its host. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282: 20150795 

Cortesi F, Feeney WE, Ferrari MCO, Waldie PA, Phillips GAC, McClure EC, Sköld HN, Salzburger W, Marshall NJ, Cheney KL (2015) Phenotypic plasticity confers multiple benefits to a mimic. Current Biology 25: 949-954

Feeney WE, Welbergen JA, Langmore NE (2014) Advances in the study of coevolution between avian brood parasites and their hosts. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 45: 227-246

Feeney WE, Medina I, Somveille M, Heinsohn R, Hall ML, Mulder RA, Stein JA, Kilner RM, Langmore NE (2013) Brood parasitism and the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. Science 342:1506-1508

Feeney WE, Langmore NE (2013). Social learning of a brood parasite by its host. Biology Letters 9: 20130443