Centre for Evolutionary Biology

Leigh Simmons

Leigh Simmons

Professor Leigh Simmons

Director/ARC Professorial Fellow
Evolutionary Biology, Centre for

Contact details
Centre for Evolutionary Biology
The University of Western Australia (M092)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2221
+61 8 6488 1029
BSc PhD Nott.
I received my PhD from Nottingham University in 1986 and held a series of postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Liverpool until 1995 when I moved to UWA. I received an ARC Federation Fellowship in 2004 and was elected to the Australian Academy in 2009. I am Editor-in-Chief of the journal Behavioral Ecology, Editor of Advances in the Study of Behavior, and on the editorial board of Journal of Ethology.

My research uses both vertebrates and invertebrates to test the predictions and assumptions of theoretical models of sexual selection and life history evolution.
I currently hold two ARC Discovery Project grants that fund research into sperm competition and the evolution of multiple mating by females using insects, mice and frogs as model systems. I am also engaged in research on sexual selection on humans. Collectively, these research programs seek to determine the direction and strength of selection acting on male and female reproductive strategies, and on the morphological and life history traits that contribute to fitness, from the whole organism to its gametes. My lab currently hosts collaborative research programs involving 7 PhD students and 6 postdoctoral researchers, and has hosted research fellows from Sweden, Finland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Opportunities are available for researchers at all levels, and I encourage interested individuals to apply under the schemes outlined on our Courses page.

Key research
Sexual Selection
Sperm Competition
Ecological Immunology
Animal Genitalia
Alternative Mating tactics
Evolutionary and Ecological Genetics
Human Behavioural Ecology




Simmons, L.W. 2001. Sperm Competition and its Evolutionary Consequences in the Insects. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Lucus, J.R. & Simmons, L.W. (Eds.) 2006. Essays in Animal Behaviour. Celebrating 50 years of Animal Behaviour. Elsevier, London.

Simmons, L.W. & Ridsdill-Smith, T.J. 2011. Ecology and Evolution of Dung Beetles. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.

Shuker, D.M. & Simmons, L.W. 2014. The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Coming Soon

Zuk, M. & Simmons, L.W. A Very Short Introduction to: Sexual Selection. Oxford University Press. June 2018


Simmons, L.W., L├╝pold, S. & Fitzpatrick, J.L. 2017. Evolutionary trade-off between secondary sexual traits and ejaculates. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, in press.

Simmons, L.W. & Lovegrove, M. 2017. Socially cued seminal fluid gene expression mediates responses in ejaculate quality to sperm competition risk. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 284, 20171486.

Buzatto, B.A., Thyer, E.M., Roberts, J.D. & Simmons, L.W. 2017. Sperm competition and the evolution of precopulatory weapons: testis size and amplexus position, but not arm strength, affect fertilization success in a chorusing frog. Evolution, 71, 329-341.

Dougherty, L.R., van Lieshout, E., McNamara, K.B., Moschilla, J.A., Arnqvist, G., Simmons, L.W. 2017. Sexual conflict and correlated evolution between male persistence and female resistance traits in the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. Proc. R. Soc. B, 284, 20170132. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.0132

Dougherty, L.R. & Simmons, L.W. 2017. X-ray micro-CT scanning reveals temporal separation of male harm and female kicking during traumatic mating in seed beetles. Proc. R. Soc. B 284: 20170550. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.0550

Foo, Y.Z., Nakagawa, S., Rhodes, G., & Simmons, L.W. 2017. The effects of sex hormones on immune function: a meta-analysis. Biological Reviews, 92, 551-571.

Foo, Y.Z., Simmons, L.W. & Rhodes, G. 2017. The relationship between health and mating success in humans. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 160603. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/ros.160603

Foo, Y.Z., Nakagawa, S., Rhodes, G., & Simmons, L.W. 2017. Predictors of facial attractiveness and health in humans. Scientific Reports, 6, 39731. DOI: 10.1038/srep39731

Foo, Y.Z., Rhodes, G., & Simmons, L.W. 2017. The carotenoid beta-carotene enhances facial color, attractiveness and perceived health, but not actual health, in humans. Behav. Ecol., 28, 570-578.

Hare, R.M., Schlatter, S., Rhodes, G., & Simmons, L.W. 2017. Putative sex-specific human pheromones do not affect gender perception, attractiveness ratings or unfaithfulness judgements of opposite sex faces. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 160831. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160831

Manser, A., Lindholm, A.K., Simmons, L.W. & Firman, R.C. 2017. Sperm competition suppresses gene drive among experimentally evolving populations of house mice. Mol. Ecol., 26, 5784-5792.

McCullough, E.L., Buzatto, B.A. & Simmons, L.W. 2017. Benefits of polyandry: Molecular evidence from field-caught dung beetles. Mol. Ecol., 26, 3546-3555.

McNamara, K.B. & Simmons, L.W. 2017. Experimental evolution reveals differences between phenotypic and evolutionary responses to population density. J. Evol. Biol. 30, 1763-1771.

Polak, M., Simmons, L.W., Benoit, J.B., Ruohonen, K., Simpson, S.J. & Solon-Biet, S.M. 2017. Nutritional geometry of paternal effects on embryo mortality. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B., 284, 20171492.

Rudin, F. S., Tomkins, J.L. & Simmons, L.W. 2017. Changes in dominance status erode personality and behavioral syndromes. Behav. Ecol., 28, 270-279.
Funding received
Current Funding

ARC Discovery Project (2016-2019). Paternal effects: non-genetic inheritance via seminal fluid?

ARC Discovery Project (2017-2019). Evolution of the mammalian baculum.

Associate Investigator

ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders

Behavioural Ecology (ANIM3365)
Evolutionary Biology (ANIM5502)
Current external positions
Editorial Boards

Editor-in-Chief, Behavioral Ecology

Editor, Advances in the Study of Behavior

Board Member, Journal of Ethology

Research profile
Research profile and publications

Centre for Evolutionary Biology

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 4 April, 2017 1:24 PM