Dr. Karen Cheney


During my undergraduate degree, I spent a lot of my time underwater learning to SCUBA dive in the seemingly arctic waters of Scotland and Wales. I then decided to pursue a research career in slightly warmer waters, which I thankfully achieved under the guidance of Dr. Isabelle Côté who supervised my PhD on cleaning gobies in the Caribbean (University of East Anglia, UK). After my PhD, I worked with Isabelle on cleaner wrasse mimicry and eventually came to Australia on a Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Dr. Lexa Grutter and Prof. Justin Marshall at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.

I obtained an ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue my work on aggressive mimicry in coral reef fish and also worked closely with Prof. Justin Marshall on the function and evolution of colour signals in marine organisms. I have since been awarded two ARC Discovery Grants to study reef fish patterns and how animals perceive colours that are highly contrasting.

Academic Qualifications

·      Ph.D. Behavioural Ecology (The University of East Anglia, UK) (awarded February 2004)

·      B.Sc. (hons) Biology with one year’s professional experience (The University of Manchester, UK)

Professional Appointments

·      2018-: Senior Research Fellow (Queensland Brain Institute/ School of Biological Sciences, UQ);

·      2016-2017: Research Fellow (School of Biological Sciences, UQ);

·      2011-2016: UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow (School of Biological Sciences, UQ);

·      2005-2011: ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (School of Biological Sciences, UQ);

·      2004-2005: Royal Society Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Major Awards and Grants

·      $497,800 ARC Discovery Grant 2015-2017 (Cheney, Marshall, Endler, Vorobyev, Osorio)

·      $42,300 Australia Pacific Science Foundation 2014-2015 (Cheney, Garson, Marshall)

·      $12,000 Promoting Women Fellowship 2014 (Cheney)

·      $3,000 Teaching and Learning Grant: ‘Digital Explanations in Zoology’ (Cheney)

·      $289,325 UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2011-2013 (Cheney)

·      $230,000 ARC Discovery Grant 2011-2013 (Marshall, Cheney, Temple, Cribb)

·      $376,000 ARC Discovery Grant 2006-2009 (Cheney)

·      $27,000 UQ Early Career Researcher Award 2007 (Cheney)

·      $12,000 UQ New Staff Start-up Grant 2007 (Cheney)