Cat Morton-Burns

Studying towards a PhD in Biological Sciences
Paternal contributions to mammalian sex allocation: The story of sperm.

Location: Julius von Haast 316
Country of origin: Christchurch, New Zealand
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"My interests are primarily in mammal physiology and reproductive biology, as well as animal behaviour and zoology".


Primary Supervisor: Elissa Cameron

Research Interests

My PhD is investigating paternal contributions to mammalian sex allocation. My research demonstrates evolutionary theories such as sperm competition across various mating systems, by investigating sperm traits within the dynamic male reproductive system. The scope of my research is relevant to both the conservation of threatened species and the management of overpopulated pest species. 

My research involves work within animal facilities and medical labs as well as extensive literature review, from evolutionary theories to human fertility studies. I have been fortunate in joining a strong team of talented and supportive academics, led by my senior supervisor and mentor Professor Elissa Cameron at UC. My research involves international work in collaboration with the University of Tasmania where I am supervised and mentored by Dr Laura Parsley.

Working thesis title

Paternal contributions to mammalian sex allocation: The story of sperm.

Personal Interests

When I’m not working on my PhD, I enjoy making art (which you can find on Instagram @mo.bu_). I also work part time as a barista and have done since I was in school. I have a passion for writing, whether it be poetry or academia and I won the ANZCCART essay competition in 2019 for my essay on openness in animal research. While I enjoy studying animals, I am also an animal welfare advocate.