Dr Stephanie Godfrey
BSc (Hons) PhD

DECRA Postdoctoral Fellow

About me

My research interests involve two main disciplines within ecology; behavioural ecology and host-parasite ecology. The question that lies at the centre of most of my research asks how animal behaviour influences parasite transmission in wildlife populations. However, as a part of this, I am also interested in animal behaviour, social organisation and the ecology of host-parasite interactions. I specialise in the use of social network models to describe patterns of contact within host populations, and how they may influence parasite transmission.

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Current PhD students

Stephanie Hing (August 2013 – present) – Stress and disease in woylies

Krista Jones (August 2013 – present) – Behaviour and parasite transmission in woylies

 

Honours opportunities – Lizard ecology and behaviour

We have two honours projects available that will examine complementary aspects of the behavioural ecology of King’s skinks on Penguin Island. King’s skinks (Egernia kingii) are a large-bodied skink, widespread in coastal areas of south-western Australia. Despite their ubiquity, we have a limited understanding of their social organisation, its consistency across their natural range, and the causes and consequences of social organisation in this species. Reports from a single group of lizards suggested they form family groups composed of parents and offspring, however this has not been studied on a larger scale. In these projects, we will use social networks (a statistical tool) to map out the social organisation of King’s skinks on Penguin Island and examine how personality influences the position of individuals in their social networks (Project 1), and the way in which social networks influence the transmission of parasites among groups (Project 2). Please contact Dr Ruchira Somaweera (ruchira.somaweera@gmail.com) or Dr Stephanie Godfrey (s.godfrey@murdoch.edu.au) for more information about these projects. Honours projects will begin in the first semester of 2015.

PhD opportunities

PhD projects available in wildlife parasitology (Murdoch University)

We invite applications for a PhD student to join an ARC-funded research program, looking at the ecology of parasite transmission in fauna translocations. The program aims to (1) quantify parasite transmission between hosts in translocated and recipient host populations; (2) explore the impact of translocation on host-parasite communities; (3) evaluate the impacts of parasite removal on host translocation success; and (4) develop models that can be used to optimise translocation strategies. To achieve these aims we will track the dynamics of parasite communities during translocations of small mammals at various localities in Western Australia and South Australia.

We have one PhD scholarship available to a domestic, full-time student. The research program will involve both field-based research on parasite population dynamics and laboratory work on the development and application of molecular epidemiological tools and we envisage that each PhD project will focus in one of these areas, although and we invite applicants to tailor their research project to their own interests within the broader research program.

In the first instance, we invite interested applicants to contact Professor Andrew Thompson (a.thompson@murdoch.edu.au), Associate Professor Alan Lymbery (a.lymbery@murdoch.edu.au) or Dr Stephanie Godfrey (s.godfrey@murdoch.edu.au) about their interest in the proposed project. Applications should be made through the Murdoch University scholarships page. Applications for scholarships are now open and will close when a suitable candidate is found.

Publications

Journals

  • Thompson, C., Wayne, A., Godfrey, S., Thompson, R., (2014), Temporal and spatial dynamics of trypanosomes infecting the brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata): a cautionary note of disease-induced population decline, Parasites & Vectors, 7, , pages 169 -.
  • Godfrey, S., Anasri, T., Gardner, M., Farine, D., Bull, C., (2014), A contact-based social network of lizards is defined by low genetic relatedness among strongly connected individuals, Animal Behaviour, 97, , pages 35 - 43.
  • Thompson, C., Godfrey, S., Thompson, R., (2014), Trypanosomes of Australian Mammals: a review, International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 3, 2, pages 57 - 66.
  • Hing, S., Narayan, E., Thompson, R., Godfrey, S., (2014), A review of factors influencing the stress response in Australian marsupials, Conservation Physiology, 2, , pages 10.1093/conphys/cou027 - 17.
  • Wohlfeil, C., Leu, S., Godfrey, S., Bull, C., (2013), Testing the robustness of transmission network models to predict ectoparasite loads. One lizard, two ticks and four years, International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 2, , pages 271 - 277.
  • Godfrey, S., Sih, A., Bull, C., (2013), The response of a sleepy lizard social network to altered ecological conditions, Animal Behaviour, 86, 4, pages 763 - 772.
  • Godfrey, S., (2013), Networks and the ecology of parasite transmission: A framework for wildlife parasitology, International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 2, , pages 235 - 245.
  • Thompson, C., Botero Gomez, L., Wayne, A., Godfrey, S., Lymbery, A., Thompson, R., (2013), Morphological polymorphism of Trypanosoma copemani and description of the genetically diverse T. vergrandis sp. nov. from the critically endangered Australian potoroid, the brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata), Parasites & Vectors, 6, 121, pages 1 - 13.
  • Gardner, M., Godfrey, S., Fenner, A., Donnellan, S., Bull, C., (2012), Fine-scale spatial structuring as an inbreeding avoidance mechanism in the social skink Egernia stokesii, Australian Journal of Zoology, 60, , pages 272 - 277.

Please see my Google Scholar page for an up to date list of my publications.