Marion Wong

Dr Marian Wong

PhD Marine Biology, James Cook University
BA (Hon). Zoology, University of Cambridge

Phone:   +61 2 4221 3574
Room:     B35.124A

The Fish Lab Website
The Fish Lab @ UOW Facebook


  • Senior Lecturer

Research Interests

  • Behavioural ecology and conservation biology of fishes

Recent Publications

  • Wong, M.Y.L., Beasley, A.L., Douglass, T., Whalan, S. & Scott, A (2017). Some anemonefishes lack personality: a comparative assessment of behavioral variation and repeatability in relation to environmental and social variation. Coral Reefs. Accepted.
  • Hing, M.L., Klanten, O.S., Dowton, M. & Wong, M.Y.L. (2017). The right tools for the job: evaluating the methodological approaches to understanding the evolution and maintenance of sociality. Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution. Accepted.
  • Flood, E. & Wong, M.Y.L. (2017). Social stability in times of change: effects of group fusion and water depth on sociality in a globally invasive fish. Animal Behaviour 129: 71-79.
  • Paijmans, K.C. & Wong, M.Y.L. (2017). Linking animal contests and community structure using rockpool fishes as a model system. Functional Ecology 31: 1612-1623.
  • Balshine, S., Wong, M.Y.L. & Reddon, A.R. (2017). Social motivation and conflict resolution tactics as potential building blocks of sociality in cichlid fishes. Behavioural Processes, 141: 152-160.
  • Lopez, L.K., Wong, M.Y.L. & Davis A.R. (2016). The effects of the diel cycle and the density of an invasive predator on predation risk and prey response. Animal Behaviour, 117: 87-95.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Uppaluri, C., Medina, A., Seymour, J. & Buston, P.M. (in press). The four elements of within-group conflict in animal societies: an experimental test using the clown anemonefish, Amphiprion percula. Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology.
  • Mara, K., Miskiewicz, A. & Wong, M.Y.L. (in press). Estuarine characteristics, water quality and heavy metal contamination as determinants of fish species composition in intermittently open estuaries. Marine and Freshwater Research.
  • Donelson, J.M., Wong, M.Y.L., Booth, D.J. & Munday, P.L. (2016). Transgenerational plasticity of reproduction depends on rate of warming across generations. Evolutionary Applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.12386.
  • O’Mara K. & Wong, M.Y.L. (2015). Body size mediated effects of multiple abiotic stressors on the growth and social behaviour of an estuarine fish, Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata). Environmental Biology of Fishes DOI 10.1007/s10641-015-0458-5
  • Matthews, S.A. & Wong, M.Y.L. (2015) Temperature-dependent resolution of conflict over rank within a size-based dominance hierarchy. Behavioral Ecology 26: 947-958.
  • Buston, P.M. & Wong, M.Y.L. (2014). Why some animals forgo reproduction in complex societies. American Scientist, 102: 290-297.
  • Naderi, M., Wong, M.Y.L & Gholami, F. (2014). Developmental exposure of zebrafish (Danio rerio) to bisphenol-S impairs subsequent reproduction potential and hormonal balance in adults. Aquatic Toxicology, 148 195-203.
  • Wong MYL & Buston PM (2013). Social systems in habitat-specialist reef fishes: Tests of evolutionary ecology. Bioscience, 63:453-463 (6.223).
  • Wong MYL, Medina A, Uppaluri C, Arnold S, Seymour J & Buston PM (2013). Consistent behavioural traits and behavioural syndromes in pairs of the false clown anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris. Journal of Fish Biology, in press.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Fauvelot, C., Planes, S. & Buston, P.M. (2012). Discrete and continuous reproductive tactics in a hermaphroditic society. Animal Behaviour, 84: 897-906.
  • Wong, M.Y.L. (2012). Abiotic stressors and the conservation of social species. Biological Conservation. 155: 77-84.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Jordan, L.A., Marsh-Rollo, S., St-Cyr, S., Reynolds., J.O., Stiver, K.A., Desjardins, J.K., Fitzpatrick, J. & Balshine S. (2012). Mating systems in cooperative breeders: the roles of resource dispersion and conflict mitigation. Behavioral Ecology, 23: 521-530.
  • Wong, M.Y.L. (2011). Group size in animal societies: the potential role of social and ecological limitations in the group-living fish, Paragobiodon xanthosomus. Ethology, 7: 638-644.
  • Wong, M.Y.L. & Balshine S. (2010). Fight for your breeding right: hierarchy re-establishment predicts aggression in a social queue. Biology Letters, 7: 190-193.
  • Wong, M.Y.L. & Balshine S. (2010). The evolution of cooperative breeding in the African cichlid fish, Neolamprologus pulcher. Biological Reviews, 86: 511-530.
  • Wong, M.Y.L. (2010). Ecological constraints and benefits of philopatry promote group living in a social but non-cooperatively breeding fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, 277: 353-358.
  • Jordan, L.A, Wong, M.Y.L. & Balshine, S. (2009). The effects of familiarity and social hierarchy on group membership decisions in a social fish. Biology Letters, 6: 301-303.
  • Buston, P.M., Fauvelot, C., Wong, M.Y.L. & Planes, S. (2009). Genetic relatedness in groups of the humbug damselfish Dascyllus aruanus: small, similar sized individuals may be close kin. Molecular Ecology, 18: 4707-4715.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Munday, P.L., Buston, P.M. & Jones, G.P. (2008). Fasting or feasting in a fish social hierarchy. Current Biology, 18: R372-373.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Buston, P.M., Munday, P.L. & Jones, G.P. (2008). Monogamy when there is potential for polygyny: tests of multiple hypotheses in a group-living fish. Behavioral Ecology, 19: 353-361.
  • Wong, M.Y.L. (2008). Gobies beat the queue-jumpers. Australasian Science, 32-34.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Buston, P.M., Munday, P.L. & Jones, G.P. (2007). The threat of punishment enforces peaceful cooperation and stabilizes queues in a coral-reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, 274, 1093-1099.
  • Wong, M.Y.L., Munday, P.L., Buston, P.M. & Jones, G.P. (2005). Habitat patch size, facultative monogamy and sex change in a coral-dwelling reef fish. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 74: 141-150.

Searchable publications

Current Postgraduate Students

PhD Students:

  • Laura Lopez (Aus) – Interspecific Interactions Mediated by Environmental Variables: A Focus on a Freshwater Invasive Fish
  • Martin Hing (Aus) – The Evolution of Sociality in Habitat-Specialist Coral Reef Fish
  • Rebecca Branconi (Int) – Social Network Analysis of Habitat-Specialist Reef Fish: An Innovative Approach to the Study of Sociality and Conservation

Honours Students:

  • Paul Gordon (BMarSci)
  • Dan Collela (BSci)
  • Pearl Ible (BMarSci)
  • Katie Hendry (BSci)

Recent Graduates

  • Chelsea Flood - University of Wollongong
  • Samuel Matthews - University of Wollongong (Honours: 1st Class)
  • Arianna Medina – Boston University, U.S.A.
  • Kaitlyn O'Mara -  University of Wollongong (Honours: 1st Class)
  • Kai Paijmans - University of Wollongong (Honours: 1st Class)
  • Curran Uppaluri – Boston University, U.S.A.

Future Topics for Students   

  • Conflict and cooperation in fish societies
  • The evolution and maintenance of fish societies
  • The behavioural mechanisms of conflict between invasive and native fishes
  • The impacts of abiotic stressors on the structure, function and stability of fish societies

Abbreviated CV

Academic Degrees

  • 2007 Ph.D. Marine Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
  • 2001 B.A. Hons. Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.

Academic Appointments

  • 2013 Lecturer Marine Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 2011 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Boston University, U.S.A.
  • 2008 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, McMaster University, Canada.

Academic Awards

  • 2014-2015 Seaworld Research and Rescue Foundation Grant: "Finding Nemo’s personalities: fitness consequences of personality trait variation in the endemic anemonefish, Amphiprion latezonatus"
  • 2014 Australian Geographic Society Grant: "Finding Nemo's Personalities"
  • 2015 URC Small Grant: "Social networks in animal societies: a new approach to understanding patterns, causes and consequences"
  • 2014 URC Small Grant (2014): "To share or not to share? The ecology and genetics of reproductive conflict in a fish society"
  • 2013-2015 Herman Slade Foundation Project Grant: 'The evolution of sociality in habitat-specialist reef fishes: exceptions that prove the rule?'
  • 2010 Post-doctoral fellowship from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, Government of Canada. 
  • 2009 Post-doctoral fellowship Association of Commonwealth Universities, U.K. 
  • 2005 Lizard Island Doctoral Fellowship, Australian Museum   
  • 2003 Ph.D fellowship, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, U.K. 

Recent Media Releases

Selected Media Coverage


Last reviewed: 1 February, 2018