Simon Blomberg's Evolutionary Statistics Lab Page


Welcome to my home page!

Simon at the computer
An old pic of me. Notice the old Macintosh, and the copy of Luke Tierney's Xlisp-Stat book

I'm a Lecturer and Consultant Statistician in the Faculty of Science at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia.

Research Programme


My research involves the application and development of statistical methods in ecology, evolutionary biology, and general whole-organism biology. My two particular research foci are phylogenetic comparative methods and mark-recapture methods for animal demography. I also have a strong interest in the application of Bayesian methods, and the statistical philosophy of the nature of evidence in whole-organism biology: How and why do scientists agree that certain data are evidence for or against a particular hypothesis? Email me if you are interested in studying in my lab.

For Potential Students


I am interested in taking graduate students at any level who are interested in quantitative methods in biology. Students in my lab will be able to (or be willing to learn) program computers in S (using R), a compiled language such as C or Fortran, and/or a scripting language such as Python or Scheme in a Unix-like environment. Shell programming would also be useful. Students are also encouraged to extend or develop their mathematical skills. A background in biology, statistics, mathematics, or computer science would be valuable. I can also co-supervise students who are interested in using quantitative methods for their thesis work, but for whom such methods are not a primary focus of research.


Current Projects

  I am open to collaboration on a wide variety of topics. Past collaborations have been based on projects where specialist statistical expertise was needed (ie I was the data monkey). However, I'm trying to restrict future collaborations to  projects that involve Phylogenetic Comparative Methods or Mark-Recapture Analysis. I've also got some good ideas for more theoretical statistics projects and methodological development. Here is a list of my current  projects. They could all be used as a basis for student research projects, at Honours, Masters, or PhD level.
Former Students
  • Pierre Bonamy de Villemereuil (intern, ENS )
  • Jessie Wells (with Hugh Possingham)
  • My favorite JW quote: "I can't believe that such a small thing could suck so much cognitive effort."
  • Robert Macdowell (Undergraduate Special Project)

About me...

After completing my B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in the Zoology Department at Monash University (Melbourne) in 1988, I moved to the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney. My doctoral thesis was on the ecological and behavioural role of body size variation in water skinks, Eulamprus tympanum at Kanangra-Boyd National Park, west of Sydney. My thesis was supervised by Prof.Rick Shine. After completing (finally), I moved to Brisbane, where I worked at assorted jobs at the University of Queensland, primarily in the Zoology Department. I also worked with Ian Owens (now of Imperial College). I also spent some time at the Queensland Institute for Medical Research, in the Genetic Epidemiology section. In 2000, I moved to the Zoology Department at the University of Aberdeen, UK. I was graciously provided space by Prof. Xavier Lambin. The next year, I took up a postdoctoral fellowship in the Zoology Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison WI, USA. Prof. Ted Garland was my postdoc advisor, but I also worked closely with Prof. Tony Ives. Ted's lab (and I) then moved to the Biology Department at the University of California, Riverside. After several months, I moved back to Australia, to the Australian National University in Canberra. I was a Visiting Fellow at the School of Botany and Zoology, where I mainly spent time in the lab of my former PhD labmate, Scott Keogh. I also worked with Prof. Andrew Cockburn and Mike Jennions. In 2004 I completed a Masters of Applied Statistics, in the School of Finance and Applied Statistics at the ANU. I then obtained a position with Prof. David Lindenmayer at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the ANU, as a statistician. I have been here at UQ since February 2007. During most of my career, I have collaborated with my partner, Dr. Diana Fisher, on a wide variety of projects. I'm sure this will continue!


Societies (I'm a member!)

Student Resources
Statistics and Computing
Introducing R document Power analysis in R document
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