Dr. Fabio Cortesi

About Me

I hail from the Swiss Alps, but was converted into a marine scientist when I initially joined the team to compelete my honours thesis on the colourful displays of marine nudibranchs (sea slugs) in 2009. I then returned to Switzerland to conduct a PhD on the intriguing mimicry system of the dusky dottyback, a small coral reef fish that has the ability to change colour in order to fool its prey. During this time, I worked under the supervision of Prof. Walter Salzburger at the University of Basel as well as our own team here in Australia. Since mid-2015 I joined our ‘team fish’ as a Postdoctoral researcher, first under a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship and now as a UQ Postdoctoral Fellow.

Research Directions

I’m interested in the forces, from molecule to environment, which shape biodiversity in nature. Focusing mainly on the evolution of visual systems in fish, I’m trying to understand how other animals perceive the world, how this contributes to the formation of colours and patterns and eventually may lead to species diversity. To understand how vision is shaping single species and whole communities, I’m using a variety of methods including NGS molecular approaches, mutagenesis experiments, neurophysiological assessments of visual systems and behavioural experimentation.

And else?

I love to travel the world, experience new cultures and learn about other people’s ways of life. I am an avid surfer and scuba diver and since I grew up in the middle of the Swiss Alps I can’t be without the occasional snowboarding trip…


2008 BSc (Animal and Plant Sciences) The University of Basel, SWITZERLAND
2009 BSc (Hons; Marine Science) The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA
2014 PhD (Zoology) The University of Basel, SWITZERLAND


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