B.Sc (Hon I), Biology, The University of Sydney, Australia (2010)
Ph.D, Animal Behaviour, The University of Sydney, Australia (2016)
I am a researcher of animal behaviour, predominately interested in the movement decisions of group-living animals. This includes investigating how internal and external stimuli affect these decisions as well as understanding their ecological and evolutionary significance.
More specifically, my research explores the costs and benefits individual animals experience as they feed, move and reproduce whilst surrounded by conspecifics driven by common yet selfish motivations. These costs and benefits are extensive and varied, but a prime focus for me has been to examine the movement strategies animals employ and how information is transferred amongst group members as they balance their conflicts of interest whilst foraging with conspecifics.
I explore this process through field and laboratory experiments with both freshwater and marine fish, predominantly via manipulations of individual nutritional state and subsequent video analysis of movement decisions using automated tracking software in custom designed arenas.
I studied and later worked under the supervision of Professors Ashley Ward and Stephen Simpson at the University of Sydney, and I am very excited about applying the skills I developed there within a new environment, the Fangue Lab, UC Davis. Here, I will primarily be working on an applied study; developing and testing the effectiveness of underwater light boxes as a behavioural guidance system for out-migrating Chinook salmon smolts (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Apart from this project, I hope to involve myself in the wide variety of experiments going on in the lab and learn plenty of new skills as I help the group tie together the fields of animal behaviour and physiology. Time permitting, I will also develop some new social foraging and group decision-making experiments utilising the local species and extensive lab facilities at UC Davis.
Hansen, M. J., O’Leary, P. M. Ward, A. J. W (2016). Interactions between fang blennies, cleaner wrasse and their clients: evidence for behavioural niche partitioning. Journal of Fish Biology, doi: 10.1111/jfb.13165
Hansen, M. J., Ward, A. J. W., Fürtbauer, I., King, A. J. (2016). Environmental quality determines finder-joiner dynamics in socially foraging three-spined sticklebacks, Gaterosteus aculeatus. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 70: 889-899, doi: 10.1007/s00265-016-2111-5
Hansen, M. J., Schaerf, T. M., Krause, J., Ward, A. J. W.(2016). Crimson-spotted rainbowfish, Melanotaenia duboulayi, change their position within shoals according to nutritional requirement. PlosOne, 11(2): e0148334.
Hansen, M. J., Schaerf, T. M. Simpson, S. J., Ward, A. J. W. (2016) Group foraging decisions of Gambusia holbrooki in nutritionally differentiated environments. Functional Ecology, 30: 1638-1647, doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12646.
Hansen, M. J., Morrell, L. J., Ward, A. J. W. (2016). The effect of temporally variable environmental stimuli and group size on emergence behaviour. Behavioural Ecology, doi: 10.1093/beheco/arv237
Hansen, M. J., Schaerf T. M., Ward, A. J. W. (2015). The influence of nutritional state on individual and group movement behaviour in shoals of crimson-spotted rainbow fish, Melatonaenia duboulayi. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 69: 1713-1722, doi: 10.1007/s00265-015-1983-0
Hansen, M. J., Schaerf T. M., Ward, A. J. W. (2015). The effect of hunger on the exploratory behaviour of shoals of mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki. Behaviour, 152: 1659-1677, doi: 10.1163/1568539X-00003298
Hansen, M. J., Buhl, J., Bazazi, S., Simpson, S. J., & Sword, G. A. (2011). Cannibalism in the lifeboat—collective movement in Australian plague locusts. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 65: 1715-1720, doi:10.1007/s00265-011-1179-1