Stephan Leu

Stephan Leu

School of Animal and Veterinary Science

Faculty of Sciences


I am interested in animal behaviour in an evolutionary ecological framework. In my research I ask fundamental questions about the emergence, maintenance and consequences of social structure in animal populations. I typically track animals with GPS loggers, which provides deep insight into animals' spatial behaviour. My research questions sit at the interface of three exciting and growing research areas, and specifically address the complex interconnection between them:

1) Animal social networks. Which factors drive animal social structure, and collective behaviour, and what are the consequences for health and fitness?
2) Movement ecology. Social structure can emerge as a consequence of animal movement and space use. I investigate how movement decisions at the individual and group level affect the probability of interacting with other conspecifics and how this ultimately leads to the emergence of social structure.
3) Disease ecology. How do spatial and social interactions predict pathogen transmission through populations?

You can find out more details on my research page.

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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2020 Armansin, N., Stow, A., Cantor, M., Leu, S., Klarevas-Irby, J., Chariton, A., & Farine, D. (2020). Social Barriers in Ecological Landscapes: The Social Resistance Hypothesis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 35(2), 137-148.
    DOI
    2019 Schilds, A., Mourier, J., Huveneers, C., Nazimi, L., Fox, A., & Leu, S. T. (2019). Evidence for non-random co-occurrences in a white shark aggregation. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, 73(10), 12 pages.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2018 Leu, S., & Godfrey, S. (2018). Advances from the nexus of animal behaviour and pathogen transmission: New directions and opportunities using contact networks. Behaviour, 155(7-9), 567-583.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2018 Riley, J., Guidou, C., Fryns, C., Mourier, J., Leu, S., Noble, D., . . . Whiting, M. (2018). Isolation rearing does not constrain social plasticity in a family-living lizard. Behavioral Ecology, 29(3), 563-573.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2018 Spiegel, O., Sih, A., Leu, S., & Bull, C. (2018). Where should we meet? Mapping social network interactions of sleepy lizards shows sex-dependent social network structure. Animal Behaviour, 136, 207-215.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS5
    2018 Sih, A., Spiegel, O., Godfrey, S., Leu, S., & Bull, C. (2018). Integrating social networks, animal personalities, movement ecology and parasites: a framework with examples from a lizard. Animal Behaviour, 136, 195-205.
    DOI Scopus14 WoS12
    2018 Taggart, P. L., Leu, S. T., Spiegel, O., Godfrey, S. S., Sih, A., & Bull, C. M. (2018). Endure your parasites: Sleepy Lizard (Tiliqua rugosa) movement is not affected by their ectoparasites. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 96(12), 1309-1316.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2017 Sah, P., Leu, S., Cross, P., Hudson, P., & Bansal, S. (2017). Unraveling the disease consequences and mechanisms of modular structure in animal social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(16), 4165-4170.
    DOI Scopus35 WoS31 Europe PMC16
    2017 Spiegel, O., Leu, S., Bull, C., & Sih, A. (2017). What's your move? Movement as a link between personality and spatial dynamics in animal populations. Ecology Letters, 20(1), 3-18.
    DOI Scopus76 WoS73 Europe PMC30
    2016 Spiegel, O., Leu, S., Sih, A., & Bull, C. (2016). Socially interacting or indifferent neighbours? Randomization of movement paths to tease apart social preference and spatial constraints. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 7(8), 971-979.
    DOI Scopus33 WoS33
    2016 Leu, S., & Bull, C. (2016). Artificial water point for livestock influences spatial ecology of a native lizard species. PLoS ONE, 11(1), e0147433.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS3
    2016 Leu, S., Jackson, G., Roddick, J., & Bull, C. (2016). Lizard movement tracks: Variation in path re-use behaviour is consistent with a scent-marking function. PeerJ, 2016(3), e1844.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS3 Europe PMC1
    2016 Leu, S., Farine, D., Wey, T., Sih, A., & Bull, C. (2016). Environment modulates population social structure: Experimental evidence from replicated social networks of wild lizards. Animal Behaviour, 111, 23-31.
    DOI Scopus34 WoS36
    2015 Leu, S., Burzacott, D., Whiting, M., & Bull, C. (2015). Mate Familiarity Affects Pairing Behaviour in a Long-Term Monogamous Lizard: Evidence from Detailed Bio-Logging and a 31-Year Field Study. Ethology, 121(8), 760-768.
    DOI Scopus16 WoS15
    2015 Spiegel, O., Leu, S., Sih, A., Godfrey, S., & Bull, C. (2015). When the going gets tough: Behavioural type-dependent space use in the sleepy lizard changes as the season dries. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1819), 9 pages.
    DOI Scopus30 WoS27 Europe PMC7
    2013 Wohlfiel, 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(1), 271-277.
    DOI Scopus8 Europe PMC1
    2013 Leu, S., Whiting, M., & Mahony, M. (2013). Making Friends: Social Attraction in Larval Green and Golden Bell Frogs, Litoria aurea. PLoS ONE, 8(2), 5 pages.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC1
    2011 Leu, S., Kappeler, P., & Bull, C. (2011). The influence of refuge sharing on social behaviour in the lizard Tiliqua rugosa. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65(4), 837-847.
    DOI Scopus24 WoS23 Europe PMC4
    2011 Leu, S., Kappeler, P., & Bull, C. (2011). Pair-living in the absence of obligate biparental care in a lizard: Trading-off sex and food?. Ethology, 117(9), 758-768.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS12
    2010 Leu, S., Bashford, J., Kappeler, P., & Bull, C. (2010). Association networks reveal social organization in the sleepy lizard. Animal Behaviour, 79(1), 217-225.
    DOI Scopus50 WoS46
    2010 Leu, S., Kappeler, P., & Bull, C. (2010). Refuge sharing network predicts ectoparasite load in a lizard. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64(9), 1495-1503.
    DOI Scopus48 WoS44 Europe PMC19
    2008 Hansbauer, M., Storch, I., Leu, S., Nieto-Holguin, J., Pimentel, R., Knauer, F., & Metzger, J. (2008). Movements of neotropical understory passerines affected by anthropogenic forest edges in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. Biological Conservation, 141(3), 782-791.
    DOI Scopus43 WoS40 Europe PMC15
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2017 Bull, C., Gardner, M., Sih, A., Spiegel, O., Godfrey, S., & Leu, S. (2017). Why Is Social Behavior Rare in Reptiles? Lessons From Sleepy Lizards. In M. Naguib, J. Podos, L. W. Simmons, L. Barrett, S. D. Healy, & M. Zuk (Eds.), Advances in the study of behavior (Vol. 49, pp. 1-26). Cambridge, MA; USA: Academic Press.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS4

2017 - 2020 DECRA Fellowship - Australian Research Council

2016             Postdoctoral Endeavour Research Fellowship - Australian Department of Education and Training

I am teaching into the Animal Behaviour program, e.g. AN BEHAV 3010RW

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  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2019 Principal Supervisor The role of personality on spatial behaviour in merino sheep (Ovis aries). Macquarie University Master Molly Gilmour
    2018 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Costs of parasitism, and dynamic disease networks in lizards. Macquarie University Doctorate Ko-Huan Lee
    2018 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Social networks, disease transmission and population genetics in the endangered Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea). Macquarie University Doctorate Nicolette Armansin

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