Theo Evans had a stationary childhood in WA, but has tried to make up for this with a peripatetic adulthood, being educated in six universities in five cities in three countries, working for CSIRO and universities in Singapore and Germany, with research activities in six continents. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia in the School of Biological Sciences.
Theo has worked on termites, other insects and spiders for 30-odd years, researching fundamental questions in biology, evolution and ecology, and applied questions, such as effective pest control and improving nutrients in agricultural soils. He has published around 120 papers and one patent.
He became interested in social insects through tricky evolutionary questions, such as how sterility (found in the worker and soldier castes of all social insects) could evolve through natural selection (Darwin’s special difficulty), plus their seemingly efficient behaviours organised through complex communication. The focus on termites came from their spectacular architecture (the largest, non-human-built structures), and the relatively less attention they received compared with the more showy ants, bees and wasps.