Current members / Alumni


Scarlett Howard

Group leader

Scarlett is a lecturer and research group leader in the School of Biological Sciences. Her research spans cognition, behaviour, pollination, ecology, zoology, neurobiology, environmental change, and bio-inspired solutions.

She predominantly works with bees and other insects to explore the cognitive abilities of miniature insect brains. Her work on honeybee cognition and pollination spans between collaborations across the world.


Leslie Ng

Research officer/assistant

Leslie recently completed his PHD at the University of Melbourne (2023) and is interested in all things insect cognition. He especially loves to chat about honey bee behavioural training, time sense and numerical cognition. 

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Aislinn Primmer

PHD student

Aislinn completed her Bachelor of Science (Zoology) in 2021. Her honours research focused on the personality of native Australian bees. She investigated whether the activity, boldness and exploratory behaviour of native bees differed across an urbanisation gradient. 
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Sesa Singha Roy

PHD student

Sesa is currently pursuing her PhD, focusing on studying insect interactions with their environment by utilizing online images. With a background in computer science, she aims to incorporate concepts from computer vision and machine learning to analyze these images. Sesa finds great interest in discussing how computer science and insect ecology can be combined to enhance our understanding of insect behaviour and their ecological relationships.

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Elena Kerjean

PHD student

Elena is currently doing her PHD on honeybee numerical cognition and is interested in the complex cognitive abilities of these fascinating insects. She has a background in neurobiology (sleep & memory) and primate behavior (social learning) and loves to interconnect these different subjects together. Elena thrives on discussions of science and the fascinating world of animal cognition inside and outside the academic world.

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Yuqing Lin

Honours student

Yuqing recently obtained her Master of Biotechnology degree from The University of Melbourne in 2022. Her honours project centers around studying honeybee flower preferences. Her interest lies in exploring the cognitive abilities of bees through their foraging lifestyles and the critical decisions they make based on cues like color, scent, and shape.

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Robert Moore

PHD student

Rob is currently doing his PhD, where he studies morphological changes through time. He is utilizing native bee specimens from the Melbourne Museum and wants to discover if climate and land use affects short term changes in morphology and ultimately the effect on pollination and distribution of native bees in Australia.  He also enjoys photography and is often out taking photos of birds and bees. 

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Emma Webster

Honours student

Emma completed her Bachelor of Science at Monash in 2022. Her honours research focuses on the behavioural responses of native bees to environmental change. Emma’s research interests are centered around the impacts of disturbance on ecosystems and how they evolve with climate change. 

Jack Williams

Honours student

Jack is currently finishing his Bachelor of Science at Monash (2023).  His honours research focuses on native bee foraging, flower preferences and pollination. Jack’s research interests are behavioural ecology and ecosystem adaptations to a changing environment.


Olivia Rumbold

Honours student

Olivia is currently completing her Bachelor of Science at Monash (2023). Her honours research focuses on honeybee cognition and pattern learning abilities. Her research interests are understanding the cognitive limits of a species, along with understanding the effects of changing environments on animal behaviour. 

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Jess Herbert

Phd student

Jess is pursuing a PhD in Australian native bee cognition, focusing on the effects of climate change. They also recently completed a Masters of Research at Macquarie University, focusing on the effects of ant-mimicry on jumping spider behaviours.

Laure Tosatto


Laure completed her PhD in 2022 at Aix-Marseille University, France. She has a background in cognitive psychology and comparative cognition in primates. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow, thanks to a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship, and is interested in the numerical skills of honeybees and octopuses. In particular, her current project deals with these species’ ability to use symbolic representations of numerosities and tries to understand to what extent associative learning mechanisms may account for such complex cognitive systems.