My work has spanned many aspects of animal behaviour with a recurrent invertebrate theme. Invertebrates are the often overlooked but significant signallers of the health of an ecosystem. They are also excellent study organisms and demonstrate numerous complex behaviours that are increasingly intriguing the more you study them.
I have conducted fieldwork in many locations, from heavily urbanised areas such as the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area, NSW, and Canberra, ACT, to remote sites including the alpine areas of the Snowy Mountains, NSW and deserts surrounding Alice Springs, NT. Coupled with my upbringing on a rural property in North-Western NSW and my extensive limited-support international travel (including tracking the Annapurna trail, Nepal, and exploring Mongolia), I am well seasoned and prepared for fieldwork of any sort.
I have managed field sites for short term fieldwork of less than 5 days, and long term fieldwork over 4 months. I cover the logistics, resource and people management and people operations, as well as conduct and troubleshoot experiments in the field. I am a confident and capable fieldwork leader.
I have extensive experience in histological, SEM, and TEM techniques. As the manager of the Invertebrate Behaviour and Ecology Laboratory at the University of Sydney I trained and supported honours and postgraduate students in their research. This has entailed learning new experimental techniques, from large-scale production of experimental setups using 3D printed designs, to smaller-scale experiments in PC1 and PC2 laboratories.
Herringe, CA, Middleton, EJ, Boyd, KC, Latty, T, & White, TE (2022) “Benefits and costs of social foraging in velvet worms” Ethology 128(3):197-206 https://doi.org/10.1111/eth.13256
Middleton, EJT, Reid, CR, Mann, RP & Latty, T (2018) “Social and private information influence the decision making of Australian meat ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus) Insectes Sociaux 65(4):649-656 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-018-0656-1
Eusocial insect infrastructure resilience
Oberhauser, FB, Middleton, EJT, Latty, T & Czaczkes, TJ (2019) “Meat ants cut more trail shortcuts when facing long detours” Journal of Experimental Biology 222(21) https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.205773
Middleton, EJT, Garnier, S, Latty, T & Reid, CR (2019) “Temporal and spatial pattern of trail clearing in the Australian meat ant, Iridomyrmex purpureus” Animal Behaviour 150:97-111 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.02.006
Middleton, EJT & Latty, T (2016) “Resilience in social insect infrastructure systems” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 13 no.116:20151022 https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.1022
Bee research and management
I have managed and conducted experiments on European honeybee, Apis mellifera, and Australian native bee, Tetragonula carbonaria, research colonies for more than 10 years. My work on honeybees began at the University of Queensland Brain Institute, working for Emeritus Professor Srini Srinivasan. I maintained colonies of honeybees and ran experiments on honeybee navigation using polarised-light cues, colony communication, and tracking responses and flight patterns of defensive bees when experiencing colony “attacks”.
Insect communication networks and navigation
Cheng, K, Middleton, EJT & Wehner, R (2012) “Vector-based and landmark-guided navigation in desert ants of the same species inhabiting landmark-free and landmark-rich environments” Journal of Experimental Biology 18: 3169 – 3174 https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.070417