Dr Matthew Symonds has been appointed President of the Australasian Evolution Society

Dr Matthew SymondsDr Matthew Symonds, an evolutionary biologist and lecturer in Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, has been appointed President of the Australasian Evolution Society.
The Australasian Evolution Society is a professional society for researchers and students in the field of evolutionary biology in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. It has more than 100 members, including geneticists, ecologists, botanists and zoologists.
‘It’s very exciting to be serving as president of the society for 2013 and 2014,’ Dr Symonds says.
‘The Australasian region has particular strength and talent in the field of evolution, and members of our society are at the forefront of evolutionary research worldwide. So, it’s an honour to be able to act in a capacity that seeks to unite this community.
‘I see my role as president as being a facilitator in trying to strengthen ties and communication not only among Australasian evolutionary researchers, but also to the wider public with an interest in science.
‘One simple way of doing this is to champion and publicise the fascinating and diverse kinds of evolutionary research going on in the region, and make people more aware of the talented and dynamic individuals who are carrying out this research.’
Another aspect of Dr Symonds’ role as president is organising the biannual conference for the society, which this year is in Geelong at the end of September.
‘We’ve got a really exciting line-up of talks shaping up, covering everything from the evolution of leadership in humans to the way cuckoos are able to dupe their hosts.’
Dr Symonds describes his research as covering a broad range of questions and systems, ‘but primarily seeks to understand why there is diversity among even quite closely related species’.
‘I have a broad range of evolutionary questions and ideas that I am interested in. Being associated with the Australasian Evolution Society therefore really helps to stimulate the creation of those ideas because you are hearing all about this amazing research being conducted by your colleagues in the same field. I also teach evolution to undergraduates at Deakin, so it’s a great opportunity to encounter new studies that I can use to illustrate evolutionary processes in my classes.’
Deakin is hosting the 8th biannual meeting of the Australasian Evolution Society at the Geelong Conference Centre from 30 September to 2 October 2013. For more information visit the Society’s website.