Professor Mike Bennett


School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 336 52705


Marine Science and Vertebrate Biomechanics

Professor Bennett's current research is in fish biology and ecology,and vertebrate biomechanics. Research involving fishes has a focus on elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates). We current have three two major, Australian Research Council-funded projects: Project Manta and GenoJaws. Project Manta is an inter-disciplinary project has been running for 10-years and is focused on the biology and ecology of the reef manta ray around the Australian coast, but has involved research in Mozambique, Japan, Ecuador, Indonesia, the Maldives and the Philippines. GenoJaws is an international collaboration between UQ and the Danish Technical University, and aims to uncover important aspects about the biology of four globally-distributed large shark species through analysis of their genomes. We have collected many thousands of DNA samples from both ancient and contemporary shark populations from around the world, with the aim of investigating, through time, species' population interconnectivity, genomic diversity, and population size. Other research includes: The energetics of swimming in filter-feeders; the biology and ecology of grey nurse sharks; bambooshark biology and taxonomy in Indonesian and Australian waters; devil ray biology and ecology; electroceptive sensory system morphology in sharks and rays; the stress response in the epaulette shark, with particular emphasis on effects on reproduction; and the biology of electric rays.

Biomechanical and functional morphological studies include the analysis of; kangaroo hindlimb structure in relation to locomotion and evolution of bipedal hopping gaits; pelvic limb morphology of birds in relation to habitat occupancy and foraging; and shark tooth and jaw morphology in relation to body size.

Other, small and somewhat esoteric projects are ongoing.

Research Impacts

The research outputs from my group, which has a history of excellent research students, have had many beneficial impacts. For example:

  • Promoted of public awareness and involvement in science within Australia, through citizen science outreach. Members of the diving public are engaged through social media and public presentations to contribute photographs of manta rays and grey nurse sharks to our websites, so that we can identify where and when individual animals are seen. This allows use to monitor the movements and model the population sizes of different populations.
  • Research on Chilean skates, conducted by Dr Carolina Vargas-Caro, Dr Carlos Bustamente, A/Prof Jennifer Ovenden and myself, has been used by the Chilean Government to change fishing quotas to better manage an important commercial wild resource.
  • In conjunction with many others, our research into the biology and ecology of mobulid rays and the grey nurse shark has resulted in better protection of species on both a national and an international scale (e.g. through National Recovery plans, CITES) .


  • PhD, University of Wales
  • Bahcelor of Science (Honours), University of Leeds


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Book Chapter

  • Bennett, M. B. (2006). Animal Movement. Biology: An Australian Focus. (pp. 643-670) edited by Bruce Knox, Pauline Ladiges, Barbara Evans and Robert Saint. NSW, Australia: McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Limited.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision