Ms Sara Niksic

Postgraduate Student

Harold Mitchell 

Curiouser and curiouser!”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Ever since I was little I have loved stories about animals that talk and behave in peculiar ways.

Animal behaviour still fascinates me, especially their vocal communication, social learning and culture.

Over the years I worked on various marine mammal research projects with several universities in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

I am currently doing a PhD on humpback whale song ontogeny, evolution and vocal learning.

During my PhD I will examine songs of humpback whales from New Caledonia in relation to their age, which we can now estimate from genetic samples. I am going to look into individual differences in song learning and production across seasons. Also, I will investigate how these songs evolve and how the age affects all of these questions.

The aim of this study is to answer some of the fundamental questions in animal communication and culture. The results will have application in regional conservation management of this endangered population, as well as wider implications in animal conservation.


(source: symbiosis database)