Professor Graham H. Pyke

Biographical outline

As an undergraduate at Sydney University, I majored in Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, but minored in Biology. I then commenced a PhD in Mathematical Statistics, before leaving in 1970 to pursue a PhD in Mathematical Biology in the USA.

While in the USA, I completed my PhD in 1974 and then took a position as an Assistant Professor in Biology at the University of Utah. After three years in that position, I returned to Australia as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, based again at the University of Sydney.

In 1980, after finishing my three-year term as a QEII Fellow, I took up a research position at the Australian Museum where I continued to work until 2007, progressing to Principal Research Scientist. I officially retired from this position in 2007, but have continued there as a Senior Fellow/ Research Associate, maintaining my research association.

In 2012 I took up a position at UTS as a Distinguished Professor in the School of the Environment (now School of Life Sciences). My roles in this position have included continuing my research program, lecturing in various courses (e.g., ecology, animal behaviour, wildlife conservation, environmental protection and management, analytical chemistry), and giving public lectures such as the one below:

I have also been advising and mentoring researchers at various stages in their careers in terms of how to be successful (including regarding citations) (e.g., , supervising student research projects (Honours, Masters, PhD), and helping to promote UTS as an institution.

Together with Professor Paul Ehrlich, I am a founder of Sustainability Central, a web-based program that  seeks to disseminate messages promoting sustainability for humanity to the widest possible audience, and to develop future leaders and champions in Sustainability (see The focus of SC is to achieve cross-disciplinary sustainability across four pillars: Environmental; Economics; Society; Health.


My most significant professional achievements have been in terms of my scientific publications and citations (as revealed by Google Scholar). I have published over 120 scientific articles, which have covered a wide range of topics and have included a broad range of organisms. A number of my publications have been highly cited and since 2004 I have been recognised as a Highly Cited Author in the Ecology/ Environment category, putting me in the top 0.5% of researchers in this area in terms of citations. My published articles have so far generated over 9,300 citations and an H-index of 40. Two of my recently published articles have been highly cited.

Further details may be found in my c.v. (links to brief & full versions).

Research Background

My principal research goals have been, and continue to be:

  • Understand ecological, behavioural, and evolutionary processes
  • Communicate this understanding to others
  • Transform what researchers think, say and do
  • Inform environmental appreciation and stewardship

I have had a distinguished career as a research scientist. I have, for example, helped transform ecological/ environmental science, through development of Optimal Foraging Theory to understand the ways in which organisms obtain food and other resources, and then using this approach to enhance our knowledge of Plant-Pollination systems. I have also developed and mentored strategies for achieving research excellence, thus helping to create a culture of excellence. In addition, I have established the longest-running population study for any native Australian frog, providing a basis for evaluating the role of frogs as environmental bio-indicators, especially in relation to climate change.

My scientific interests are broad, and my research has covered a wide array of inter-related subject areas, across ecology, behaviour and evolution, and has involved many different kinds of organisms. Research topics have included climate change biology, animal foraging behaviour, biology/ chemistry of floral nectar, introduced species, fire ecology, and environmental legislation. Study subjects have included plants, birds, bees, bats, frogs, lizards and fish.