My research explores how the social environment shapes the evolution of individual traits and behaviours. This broad research question results in my use of many different animals, including humans. My work using insects and spiders explores how changes in the density of males and females affects developmental decisions, and the outcome this has for how individuals perform and age. My research on humans explores how our evolutionary history can explain gender differences in the video games we choose to play and how this affects how we perceive ourselves and behave.
Hermon Slade Foundation 2012-2015, Understanding the role of the ecological and social environment in the evolution of complex communication in peacock spiders
ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award 2012-2014, Re-evaluating evolution by examining developmental plasticity in response to the social environment
ARC Discovery Grant 2012-2014, Adaptive plasticity and evolution: linking the genotype and the environment to understand phenotypic evolution and expression
ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2008-2011, The importance of phenotypic plasticity in maintaining variation
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2007-2009, Understandginthe relative importance of ecological and social factors in triggering phenotypic plasticity
UNSW Faculty of Science Early Career Researcher Award (2012)
Life Science & Biological Sciences Scopus Young Research of the Year (2012)
American Society of Naturalists Young Investigator Prize (2011)
NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award Winner (2010)
My research generally explores the innate differences between males and females and how the environment, both social and ecological, modifies these differences. I’m interested in how individuals maximize fitness in what seems to be a chaotic and unpredictable world. Often, this require individuals to use information available during development to best make developmental decisions across suites of traits to best succeed in a future environment.
I use crickets to explore how the ecological and social environment affects juvenile developmental decisions, and the affect this has on the adult phenotype. Much of this research also explores how these early environments affect changes and gene expression, and how this translates to morphological, behavioural, and physiological differences at maturity.
My research with spiders explores how ecological environments affect the density of males and females, and the different strategies males and females use to overcome these limitations. These studies are performed in the field and also using large scale laboratory manipulations.
I have also started collaborating with Tom Denson in Psychology in an exciting new direction where we are exploring how our evolutionary history can explain gender differences in gaming preferences and habits. We perform laboratory experiments as well as online surveys to understand why we play the video games we do and what they do to us.
You can find outmore about my research on my personal website www.michaelkasumovic.com.