Justin A. Welbergen undertook undergraduate studies in biology and psychology at the University of Amsterdam, which included a year’s exchange at the University of Melbourne. Next, he completed his Dutch MSc (Cum Laude) with a project on the breeding ecology of Australian reed warblers, supervised by Professor Jan Komdeur (University of Groningen, the Netherlands). This research involved many long hours slogging across swamps in southern Victoria, which – remarkably – kindled his interests in Australian fauna.
After completing his Masters he moved to the UK to do a PhD at the University of Cambridge (King’s College) under the supervision of Professor Nick Davies. Justin's PhD thesis was on the 'Social organisation of the grey-headed flying-fox', and the research entailed three field seasons in flying-fox colonies in northern New South Wales.
After graduating Justin remained in Cambridge as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with Professor Davies, focusing on the role of learning in coevolution. In particular, they studied how learning affects behavioural strategies in brood parasite-host systems. In Cambridge he also took on senior teaching posts at three Colleges (Kings College, Darwin College, and Murray-Edwards College) and a Research Fellowship at Darwin College. You can visit his old Cambridge web site here.
In 2010 he returned to Australia as a Visiting Fellow at the ANU, working with Professor Rob Magrath, before moving to Queensland, to join the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University. Here he worked as an ARC Senior Research Fellow on the impacts of extreme events on biodiversity until January 2014. He currently retains his affiliation with James Cook University as an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow.