Dr. Mike Double BSc (Hons), PhD

Expertise and research interests

From inter-tidal snails to great whales (with a lot of birds in between) my research has been diverse but the uniting theme has been the use of molecular tools to address evolutionary, ecological and conservation-orientated questions.

I started my training with a degree in genetics and zoology at Leeds University that was quickly followed by doctoral research in Terry Burke's lab at Leicester University. There I applied single-locus DNA fingerprinting to reveal cryptic breeding behaviours in birds. From tedious southern blotting and minisatellites I graduated to microsatellite genotyping in my first postdoctoral job with the inspirational Andrew Cockburn at the Australian National University. Jumping from one postdoc to another I stayed with Andrew's team for over ten years, all the time combining detailed field observations with fine-scale genetic analyses to reveal the unique and fascinating behaviours of superb fairy-wrens. On the side I collaborated in studies of antechinus, fiddler crabs, spiders and many other bird species but the principal distraction from wrens was my research on the taxonomy, genetics and conservation of albatrosses.

My work with seabirds, and especially albatross, introduced me to marine conservation issues and a familiarity with bobbing around the ocean in small boats. With these qualifications and my genetics background I joined the Australian Marine Mammal Centre in 2007 to initiate a population genetic research program on Australia's baleen whales.

Selected publications

Jenner, C., Jenner, M., Burton, C., Sturrock, V., Salgado Kent, C., Morrice, M., Attard, C., Moller, L., Double, M.C., 2008- report. Mark recapture analysis of Pygmy Blue Whales from the Perth Canyon, Western Australia 2000-2005. SC/60/SH16. Paper submitted for consideration by the IWC Scientific Committee SC/60/SH16.

Cocking, L.J., Double, M.C., Milburn, P.J., Brando, V.E., 2008. Seabird bycatch mitigation and blue-dyed bait: a spectral and experimental assessment. Biological Conservation 141, 1354-1364.

Cockburn, A., Sims, R.A., Osmond, H.L., Green, D.J., Double, M.C., Mulder, R.A., 2008a. Can we measure the benefits of help in cooperatively breeding birds: the case of superb fairy-wrens Malurus cyaneus? Journal of Animal Ecology 77, 430-438.

Cockburn, A., Osmond, H.L., Mulder, R.A., Double, M.C., Green, D.J., 2008b. Demography of male reproductive queues in cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wrens Malurus cyaneus. Journal of Animal Ecology 77, 297-304.

Cockburn, A., Osmond, H.L., Double, M.C., 2008c. Swingin' in the rain: condition dependence and sexual selection in a capricious world. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 275, 605-612.

Cockburn, A., Double, M.C., 2008. Cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wrens show no facultative manipulation of offspring sex ratio despite plausible benefits. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 62, 681-688.

Double, M.C., 2008. Do wanderers always return?, In:  Roy, T. d., Jones, M., Fitter, A. (Eds.), Albatross: their world, their ways. Christopher Helm, London.

Brooke, M., Chambers, G.K., Double, M.C., Ryan, P.G., Tasker, M.L., 2007 - report. Report by the Taxonomy Working Group to the third meeting of the ACAP Advisory Committee - Valdivia, Chile 2007. AC3 Doc12. Third Meeting of the ACAP Advisory Committee. Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP).

Thalmann, S., Baker, G.B., Hindell, M., Double, M.C., Gales, R., 2007. Using biometric measurements to determine gender of Flesh-footed Shearwaters, and their application as a tool in long-line by-catch management and ecological field studies. Emu 107, 231-238.

Murphy, S.A., Double, M.C., Legge, S.M., 2007. The phylogeography of palm cockatoos, Probosciger aterrimus, in the dynamic Australo-Papuan region. Journal of Biogeography 34, 1534-1545.

Congdon, B.C., Erwin, C.A., Peck, D.R., Baker, G.B., Double, M.C., O'Neill, P., 2007. Chapter 14 Vulnerability of seabirds on the Great Barrier Reef to climate change, In:  Johnson, J. E., Marshall, P. A. (Eds.), Climate change and the Great Barrier Reef: a vulnerability assessment. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Greenhouse Office, Australia.

Baker, G.B., Double, M.C., Gales, R., Tuck, G.N., Abbott, C.L., Ryan, P.G., Petersen, S.L., Robertson, C.J.R., Alderman, R., 2007. A global assessment of the impact of fisheries-related mortality on shy and white-capped albatrosses: Conservation implications. Biological Conservation 137, 319-333.

Backwell, P.R.Y., Matsumasa, M., Double, M., Roberts, A., Matasumasa, M., Keogh, J.S., Jennions, M.D., 2007. What are the consequences of being in a predominantly right-clawed fiddler. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274, 27232729.

Murphy, S.A., Flux, I., Double, M.C., 2006. Recent evolutionary history of New Zealand's North and South Island Kokako (Callaeas cinerea) inferred from mitochondrial sequences. Emu 106, 41-48.

Fisher, D.O., Double, M.C., Moore, B., 2006a. Number of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial, Antechinus agilis. Animal Behaviour 71, 289-297.

Fisher, D.O., Double, M.C., Blomberg, S.P., Jennions, M.D., Cockburn, A., 2006b. Post-mating sexual selection increases lifetime fitness of polyandrous females in the wild. Nature 444, 89-92.

Abbott, C.L., Double, M.C., Gales, R., Cockburn, A., 2006a. Copulation behaviour and paternity in shy albatrosses (Thalassarche cauta). Journal of Zoology 270, 628-635.

Abbott, C.A., Double, M.C., Baker, G.B., Gales, R., Lashko, A., Robertson, C.J.R., Ryan, P.G., 2006b. Molecular provenance analysis for shy and white-capped albatrosses killed by fisheries interactions in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Conservation Genetics 7, 531-542.

Alderman, R., Double, M.C., Valencia, J., Gales, R.P., 2005. Genetic affinities of newly sampled populations of wandering and black-browed albatross. Emu 105, 169-179.

Double, M.C., Peakall, R., Beck, N.R., Cockburn, A., 2005. Dispersal, philopatry, and infidelity: dissecting local genetic structure in superb fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus). Evolution 59, 625-635.

Abbott, C.L., Double, M.C., Trueman, J.W.H., Robinson, A., Cockburn, A., 2005. An unusual source of apparent mitochondrial heteroplasmy: duplicate mitochondrial control regions in Thalassarche albatrosses. Molecular Ecology 14, 3605-3613.

Boland, C.R.J., Double, M.C., Baker, G.B., 2004. Assortative mating by tail streamer length in Red-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon rubricauda breeding in the Coral Sea. Ibis 146, 687-690.

Heinsohn, R., Double, M.C., 2004. Cooperate or speciate: a new theory for the distribution of passerine birds. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 19, 55-57.

Double, M.C., Gales, R., Reid, T., Brothers, N., Abbott, C.L., 2003. Morphometric comparison of Australian shy and New Zealand white-capped albatrosses. Emu 103, 287-294.

Double, M.C., Cockburn, A., 2003. Subordinate superb fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) parasitize the reproductive success of attractive dominant males. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270, 379-384.

Cockburn, A., Osmond, H.L., Mulder, R.A., Green, D.J., Double, M.C., 2003. Divorce, dispersal and incest avoidance in the cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus. Journal of Animal Ecology 72, 189-202.

Beck, N., Double, M.C., Cockburn, A., 2003. Microsatellite evolution at two hypervariable loci revealed by extensive avian pedigrees. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20, 54-61.

Abbott, C.L., Double, M.C., 2003a. Genetic structure, conservation genetics, and evidence of speciation by range expansion in shy and white-capped albatrosses. Molecular Ecology 12, 2953-2962.

Abbott, C.L., Double, M.C., 2003b. Phylogeography of shy and white-capped albatrosses inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences: implications for population history and taxonomy. Molecular Ecology 12, 2747-2758.

Double, M.C., 2002. Procellariiformes (Tube-nosed seabirds), In: Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Gale Group, Farmington Hills, MI, USA. pp. 107-111.

Cockburn, A., Legge, S., Double, M.C., 2002. Sex ratios in birds and mammals: can the hypotheses be disentangled?, In:  Hardy, I. C. W. (Ed.), Sex Ratios. Concepts and research methods. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Legge, S., Heinsohn, R., Double, M.C., Griffiths, R., Cockburn, A., 2001. Complex sex allocation in the laughing kookaburra. Behavioral Ecology 12, 524-533.

Nicholls, J.A., Double, M.C., Rowell, D.M., Magrath, R.D., 2000. The evolution of cooperative and pair breeding in thornbills Acanthiza (Aves: Pardalotidae). Journal of Avian Biology 31, 165-176.

Heinsohn, R., Dunn, P., Legge, S., Double, M., 2000. Coalitions of relatives and reproductive skew in cooperatively breeding white-winged choughs. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 267, 243-249.

Double, M.C., Cockburn, A., 2000. Pre-dawn infidelity: females control extra-pair mating in superb fairy-wrens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 267, 465-470.

Griffiths, R., Double, M.C., Orr, K., Dawson, R.J.G., 1998. A DNA test to sex most birds. Molecular Ecology 7, 1071-1075.

Double, M.C., Dawson, D., Burke, T., Cockburn, A., 1997a. Finding the fathers in the least faithful bird - a microsatellite-based genotyping system for the superb fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus. Molecular Ecology 6, 691-693.

Double, M.C., Cockburn, A., Barry, S.C., Smouse, P.E., 1997b. Exclusion probabilities for single-locus paternity analysis when related males compete for matings. Molecular Ecology 6, 1155-1166.

This page was last modified on January 29, 2009.