• 6960 Citations
  • 46 h-Index
1979 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile


My research crosses mechanistic, functional and evolutionary questions in the study of animal behaviour. A central theme of my research concerns how animals process information. Dealing with information is crucial for many important behaviours in an animal's life, including choosing a mate, avoiding predators, and finding food. The range of species I have studied include humans, rats, pigeons, chickadees, Clark's nutcrackers, desert ants, and honeybees. A large part of my research has concentrated on how animals deal with space and time. I have collaborations with a number of researchers around the world.

Macquarie University funds postgraduate students from anywhere in the world with scholarships. I am currently looking for students to study the behaviour of ants in Australia. We are studying one species of desert ant, the highly thermophilic the red honey ant Melophorus bagoti, that lives in cluttered semi-arid habitats. We are also launching into the study of bull ants found on campus here. The latest venture is to provide reconstructed reality for ants, replicas of their natural scenes so that we can better control and manipulate the cues. I welcome enquiries from those interested.

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  • Navigating brains: the neurobiology of spatial cognition

    Cheng, K., Zeil, J., Narendra, A., Barron, A., Wehner, R. & MQRES, M.


    Project: Research

    Evolution of intelligence in small brains: how to navigate the messy natural outdoors smartly

    Cheng, K., Newton, J., MQRES, M., PhD Contribution (ARC), P. C. (. & Wehner, R.


    Project: Research

    Research Outputs

    Effects of sun compass error on spatial search by Clark's nutcrackers

    Kelly, D. M., Cheng, K., Balda, R. & Kamil, A. C., Mar 2019, In : Integrative Zoology. 14, 2, p. 172-181 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Experimental ethology of learning in desert ants: becoming expert navigators

    Freas, C. A., Fleischmann, P. N. & Cheng, K., Jan 2019, In : Behavioural Processes. 158, p. 181-191 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • 13 Citations (Scopus)

    Grid-like units help deep learning agent to navigate

    Cheng, K., Mar 2019, In : Learning and Behavior. 47, 1, p. 3-4 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

    Open Access
  • Panorama similarity and navigational knowledge in the nocturnal bull ant Myrmecia midas

    Freas, C. A. & Cheng, K., Jun 2019, In : Journal of Experimental Biology. 222, 11, p. 1-12 13 p., jeb193201.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)

    Running paths to nowhere: repetition of routes shows how navigating ants modulate online the weights accorded to cues

    Wystrach, A., Schwarz, S., Graham, P. & Cheng, K., Mar 2019, In : Animal Cognition. 22, 2, p. 213-222 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 7 Citations (Scopus)