Kit Magellan






Aquatic Invasions (international open access journal focusing on biological invasions in inland and coastal waters from around the world)


BioInvasions Records (international open access journal of field research on biological invasions in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems)



School of Biological Sciences
Kadoorie Biological Science Building
The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China


+ 852 9767 5248 (cell)
+ 852 2299 0621 (work)


I am primarily a behavioural ecologist specializing in fish and aquatic ecosystems. I have applied the study of behaviour to several fields including invasion ecology, evolutionary ecology, ecotoxicology, aquaculture and conservation. Much of my research involves behavioural interactions between native and invasive fish species with the dual aims of using these systems to inform on ecological theory and providing information necessary for conservation efforts. Behaviour, while often overlooked, is of fundamental importance, and many researchers now emphasize the need to study behaviour in biological invasions. Other areas of interest comprise the mechanisms and functions of airbreathing in fishes and the characterization of crypsis and its role in avoiding competition and predation.

My current focus combines invasive species impacts and climate change effects using the mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide, as the model species. Investigation of the interactions between climate change and biotic invasions in freshwater ecosystems is of critical global importance in the modern world and for future generations. A major climate change influence for invasive species impacts is increased temperatures and one potential effect that has received little attention is changes in cognitive abilities. A key attribute of successful invasive species is behavioral flexibility and temperature has been shown to enhance learning and innovation in several taxa. Depending on the direction of effects, climate change may combine synergistically with changes in cognitive abilities to enhance the invasive success of freshwater species.


Research Fellow: University of Hong Kong (November 2015-present)

Research Associate: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (July 2014-July 2019)


Research Associate: Institut d’Ecologia Aquática, Universitat de Girona (June 2013-November 2015)

Visiting Researcher: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (March-May 2014)

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow: Institut d’Ecologia Aquática, Universitat de Girona (June 2011-May 2013)

Claude Leon Postdoctoral Fellow: Rhodes University (Jan 2010-Jun 2011)

Postdoctoral Researcher: for Rhodes University and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (March 2008-Dec 2009)

Rhodes Postdoctoral Fellow: Rhodes University (Feb 2006-Feb 2008)


PhD in Behavioural Ecology

Institute: University of St Andrews

Dates: Nov 2001-Oct 2005

Thesis: Variation in the Mating Behaviour of the Guppy, Poecilia reticulata


MSc in Ecology

Institute: University of Wales, Bangor

Dates: Sep 1999-Sep 2000

Thesis: Behaviour, Morphology and Geographic Variation in relation to Ultraviolet Colouration in the Tenerife Lacertid Gallotia galloti

Project: Behaviour as a Barrier to Gene Flow in Dominican Anoles


BSc (Hons) 1st Class

Institute: Open University

Dates: Jan 1995-Oct 1998

Projects: Density Dependent or Density Independent Prey Selection in Magpies

               Comparison of Understorey Vegetation in Coppice and Standard Ash Woodland


Teaching and Assessment (2002)
University of St Andrews

Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis (Nov 2004-Apr 2005)
Open University Masters Module

Ecological Modelling (Nov 2011)
Universidad de Granada


Earth as a Habitable Planet: Climate change effects on invasive mosquitofish
With David Dudgeon and Tim Bonebrake

Behavioural effects of underwater video
With Olaf Weyl

Behavioural indicators of arsenic toxicity
With Helena Guasch Padro

Competitive interactions between native Iberian and invasive fish
With Emili García-Berthou

The function of airbreathing in a Galaxiid fish
Principle Investigator

Colour pattern polymorphism and camouflage in a Galaxiid fish
Principle Investigator

co-PI Ernst Swartz

Using theoretical, experimental and ecological techniques to assess the impacts of alien invasive freshwater fish on indigenous species to develop effective conservation strategies
With Tony Booth

Ecology of Galaxias spp. in the Western Cape, South Africa
With Ernst Swartz

Aggression in the swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri
With Horst Kaiser

The effects of the intensity and colour of light on aggression in the dusky kob, Argyrosomous japonicas
Principle Investigator

The effects of colour on feeding and growth in Rainbow trout (Product development for aquaculture industry)
With Martin Davies

The use of propolis as a fungicide and growth enhancer in finfish culture (Product development for aquaculture industry)
With Ernst Thompson


1. Magellan K (2016) Amphibious adaptations in a newly recognized amphibious fish: terrestrial locomotion and the influences of size and temperature. Austral Ecology: in press

2. Magellan K & García-Berthou E (2016) Experimental evidence for the use of artificial refugia to ameliorate the impacts of invasive Gambusia holbrooki on an endangered fish. Biological Invasions: in press

3. Ould Rouis S, Ould Rouis A, Dumont HJ, Magellan K & Arab A (2016) Dynamics and effects of Ligula intestinalis (L.) infection in the native fish Barbus callensis Valenciennes 1842 in Algeria. Acta Parasitologica 61: in press

4. Barral-Fraga L, Morin S, Rovira M, Urrea G, Magellan K, Guasch H (2016) Short-term arsenic exposure reduces diatom cell size in biofilm communities. Environmental Science and Pollution Research: in press

5. Magellan K (2015) Voluntary emergence and water detection in a newly recognised amphibious fish. Journal of Fish Biology 86: 1839-1844.

6. Magellan K & García-Berthou E (2015) Influences of size and sex on invasive species aggression and native species vulnerability: a case for modern regression techniques. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 25: 537-549.

7. García-Berthou E, Almeida D, Benejam L, Magellan K, Casals F, Bae MJ, Merciai R (2015) Impacto ecológico de los peces continentales introducidos en la Península Ibérica [Ecological impacts of introduced freshwater fish in the Iberian Peninsula]. Ecosistemas 24: 36-42.

8. Magellan K, Barral-Fraga L, Rovira M, Srean P, Urrea G, García-Berthou E, Guasch H (2014) Behavioural and physiological effects of arsenic exposure in fish are aggravated by aquatic algae. Aquatic Toxicology 156: 116-124.

9. Magellan K, Pinchuck S & Swartz ER (2014) Short- and long-term strategies to facilitate aerial exposure in a galaxiid. Journal of Fish Biology 84: 748-758.

10. Ólafsdóttir GÁ, Andreou A, Magellan K & Kristjánsson BK (2014) Divergence in social foraging among morphs of threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 113: 194-203.

11. Magellan K & Swartz ER (2013) Crypsis in a heterogeneous environment: relationships between changeable polymorphic colour patterns and behaviour in a galaxiid fish. Freshwater Biology 58: 793-799.

12. Carmona-Catot G, Magellan K & García-Berthou E (2013) Temperature-dependent competition between invasive mosquitofish and an endangered cyprinodontid fish. PLoS ONE 8: e54734.

13. Kaiser H, Field R, Naylor M, Orford R, Sheppard J, Thornycroft R & Magellan K (2013) The effects of population density on aggressive interactions in the swordtail. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 29: 1264-1268.

14. Magellan K, Johnson A, Williamson L, Richardson M, Watt W, & Kaiser H (2012) Alteration of tank dimensions reduces male aggression in the swordtail. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 28: 91-94.

15. Chakona A, Swartz ER & Magellan K (2011) Aerial exposure tolerance of a newly discovered galaxiid. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 912-922.

16. Magellan K, Richardson T, Filmalter JD, Forget F, Midgely C & Kaiser H (2011) Competitor density influences resource defence in a poeciliid fish. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27: 912-915.

17. Timmer RJ & Magellan K (2011) The effects of the colour and intensity of light on aggressive behaviour in dusky kob, Argyrosomous japonicus. Israeli Journal of Aquaculture – Bamidgeh 63: 1-9.

18. Magellan K & Kaiser H (2010) The function of aggression in the swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri: resource defence. Journal of Ethology 28: 239-244.

19. Magellan K & Kaiser H (2010) Male aggression and mating opportunity in a Poeciliid fish. African Zoology 45: 18-23.

20. Magellan K & Magurran AE (2009) The effect of social environment during ontogeny on life history expression in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 2329-2337.

21. Magellan K & Magurran AE (2007) Behavioural Profiles: Individual consistency in male mating behaviour under varying sex ratios. Animal Behaviour 74: 1545-1550.

22. Magellan K & Magurran AE (2007) Mate choice, sexual coercion and gene flow in guppy populations. Journal of Fish Biology 71: 1864-1872.

23. Magellan K & Magurran AE (2006) Habitat use mediates the conflict of interest between the sexes. Animal Behaviour 72: 75-81.

24. Magellan K, Pettersson LB & Magurran AE (2005) Quantifying male attractiveness and mating behaviour through phenotypic size manipulation in the Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 58: 366-374.





Last update: 10 January 2016