About Me



My name is Jacinta Kong. I am a teaching and research fellow in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. I started in 2019 and I work in the Payne Lab. My current research project is looking at how the relationship between environmental temperature and the traits of an organism (morphological, behavioural & physiological) influences the ecology of ectotherms. I use a combination of individual-based models, field observations and comparative datasets.

I completed my PhD in 2019 in the Climate and Metabolic Ecology Laboratory (CAMEL) at the School of BioSciences of the University of Melbourne, Australia. I started in 2015 under the supervision of Associate Professor Michael Kearney (co-supervisor: Professor Ary Hoffmann). In my PhD I looked at the variation in how insect eggs are adapted to climate and the consequences of this for their life cycles, distribution and phenology. I used a combination of field work, experimental studies, and computer simulations to understand the problem of distribution, phenology and abundance. I worked with Morabine grasshoppers which are endemic to Australia (subfamily: Morabinae). These grasshoppers are found all over Australia, and most fascinatingly (and great for my research) display a wide range of life history traits and life cycles. For example, Warramaba virgo, one of my study species, is parthenogenetic.

I don’t have a particular animal I’m passionate about, instead I want to know how animals are adapted to their environment through their functional traits, how these traits have evolved and how the interaction of these traits with the environment  generate ecological patterns like distribution or phenology. I answer these questions through a combination of field observations, manipulative laboratory experiments and computer modelling within a theoretical framework to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes underlying biological patterns.

If you want to see what I’ve been up to – check out the blog tab!

I graduated from the University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science (Honours Class 1, University Medal) majoring in Zoology, and in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology and Zoology. Check out my CV (resume) for the details.

I can be contacted by e-mail, Twitter and Instagram.

I also really like talking about matchstick grasshoppers. If you find one in the field, feel free to send me a picture and some information like: weather, plant it was on, time of day, date, location and general habitat. It would be appreciated in increasing our knowledge about these native grasshoppers.


School of Natural Sciences
Zoology Building
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

School of BioSciences
BioSciences 4 (Bldg 147)
The University of Melbourne
VIC 3010

kongj @ tcd. ie
jacintak1 @ student. unimelb. edu. au

Google Scholar Profile

ResearchGate profile

ORCID: 0000-0002-1085-8612

Twitter: jacintakong

GitHub: jacintak

Instagram: jacintakong

Lab Twitter: CamelUnimelb


Linking thermal adaptation and life-history theory explains latitudinal patterns of voltinism. Jacinta. D. Kong, Ary A. Hoffmann and Michael R. Kearney. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 374(1778). 2019. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2018.0547 Author post-print

Novel applications of thermocyclers for phenotyping invertebrate thermal responses
Jacinta D. Kong, Jason K. Axford, Ary A. Hoffmann and Michael R. Kearney. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 7(10): 1201 – 1208. 2016. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12589  Author post-print

Mechanistic models for predicting insect responses to climate change
James L. Maino, Jacinta. D. Kong, Ary A. Hoffmann, Madeleine G. Barton and Michael R. Kearney. Current Opinion in Insect Science 17: 81 – 86. 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2016.07.006 Author post-print

Summer egg diapause in a matchstick grasshopper synchronises the life cycle and buffers thermal extremes
Michael R. Kearney, John Deutscher, Jacinta D. Kong, and Ary A. Hoffmann. 2018. Integrative Zoology 13: 437-449. 2018. DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12314

1 thought on “About Me

  1. David Buckle

    Hi Jacinta,
    your fascinating web site popped up when I googled Morabine grasshoppers. This sudden revival of interest in a field I studied nearly fifty years ago was prompted by a picture of my grandson on Facebook with a handsome specimen described by his BA/BSc mum, to my horror, as a stick insect!

    As I clicked through the pages and links of this orderly, lucid, original and entertaining site I was startled by the coincidental cross references to my own experience; this very evening the grandsons 5yo big sister collided under water with a Water Dragon evading the family dog. These magnificent creatures have had a special place in my heart since childhood in east Gippsland and dragon counting is an essential part of any family trip to the Botanic Gardens in Canberra.

    Well I suppose since I too was once a tutor to Melbourne Uni undergrads, studied evolutionary cytogenetics under the magnificent Prof MJD White at MU, worked at ANU for Prof Barney John and his students, listened to Dave Renz’s community radio programmes and was a friend and neighbour to Nelida Contreras, of Sipyloidea nelida (John, Renz & Contreras), had friends and colleagues in Prof Jenny Graves’ group, worked at CSIRO Entomology, etc ,etc then it is not exactly a random association of factors that brought these coincidences about…

    It gives me some pleasure to see that the scientific puzzles of fifty years ago are still challenging and entertaining a lively crew of individuals and I wish you well in an academic career. I myself allowed politics, sex and a severe lack of dilligence and discipline to divert me from postgraduate studies, but was never bored for a single day in fourty odd years as a technician.

    One of the cleverer things I did was to marry a teacher, psych nurse, counsellor and writer. Since I dont have a web site I will include hers below.

    Regards, David

    PS Following the advice of the gracious Senora Contreras I have found that the single greatest determinant of survival of field collected insects, even apparently arid adapted ones, is HUMIDITY. Spray their cages with clean water regularly until you have them in controlled conditions.



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