Dr Claire Maria Postlethwaite


Profile Image
Associate Professor


Claire is an Associate Professor in Applied Mathematics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2006, and moved to New Zealand after two years of post-docs in the USA. Her background is in the area of applied dynamical systems, but her interests range from theoretical studies of differential equations to using applications of mathematics to understand animal behaviour and navigation. Her research has resulted in several awards, including the New Zealand Mathematics Society Early Career Award for Mathematical Research (2011) and the University of Auckland’s Early Career Research Excellence Award (2013).

Claire is currently looking for two well-qualified PhD students to work on her recently-funded Marsden research project "Noisy networks: understanding how stochasticity affects mathematical models of cognitive systems". For more details please see the advert here: https://goo.gl/hZHrJx



Research | Current

I have a wide range of interests in the area of dynamical systems theory and applications to control and biological systems. I have made contributions to the dynamical systems literature in the areas of: heteroclinic cycles and networks; time-delayed feedback control; delay-differential equations; coupled cell dynamics; noise-induced dynamics; bifurcation theory. I have also worked in mathematical ecology, specializing in models of animal navigation, and animal movement and models of behaviour.

Teaching | Current

I regularly make contributions to the following courses:

  • Maths 190
  • Maths 260
  • Maths 340
  • Maths 761

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

  • Rebecca Turner (Mathematical models of animal navigation)

Master's students

  • Valerie Jeong (Evolutionary robotics and dynamical systems)
  • Nidia Jackson (Evolutionary robotics and dynamical systems)

Honours students

  • Nelson Wong (Evolutionary robotics and dynamical systems)


2013, Early Career Research Excellence Award, University of Auckland 

2011, Early Career Award for Mathematical Research, New Zealand Mathematical Society

2011, Early Career Teaching Excellence Award, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Postlethwaite, C. M., & Rucklidge, A. M. (2019). A trio of heteroclinic bifurcations arising from a model of spatially-extended Rock-Paper-Scissors. NONLINEARITY, 32 (4), 1375-1407. 10.1088/1361-6544/aaf530
  • Egbert, M., Keane, A., Postlethwaite, C., & Wong, N. (2019). Can Signal Delay be Functional? Including Delay in Evolved Robot Controllers. Artificial life, 25 (4), 315-333. 10.1162/artl_a_00299
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Matthew Egbert
  • Ashwin, P., & Postlethwaite, C. (2018). Sensitive Finite-State Computations Using a Distributed Network With a Noisy Network Attractor. IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, 1-12. 10.1109/TNNLS.2018.2813404
  • Keane, A., Krauskopf, B., & Postlethwaite, C. M. (2017). Climate models with delay differential equations. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 27 (11)10.1063/1.5006923
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bernd Krauskopf
  • Postlethwaite, C. M., & Rucklidge, A. M. (2017). Spirals and heteroclinic cycles in a spatially extended Rock-Paper-Scissors model of cyclic dominance. EPL (Europhysics Letters), 117 (4)10.1209/0295-5075/117/48006
  • Egbert, M., Keane, A., & Postlethwaite, C. (2017). Lag in situated, embodied and dynamical adaptive systems. In C. Knibbe, G. Beslon, D. Parsons, D. Misevic, J. Rouzaud-Cornabas, Bredèche N, S. Hassas, O. Simonin, H. Soula (Eds.) Proceedings of ECAL 2017 the 14th European Conference on Artificial Life, 130-137. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Matthew Egbert
  • Turner, R. M., Walker, M. M., & Postlethwaite, C. M. (2016). Literal grid map models for animal navigation: Assumptions and predictions. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 404, 169-181. 10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.05.038
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30734
  • Ashwin, P., & Postlethwaite, C. (2016). Designing heteroclinic and excitable networks in phase space using two populations of coupled cells. Journal of Nonlinear Science, 26 (2), 345-364. 10.1007/s00332-015-9277-2

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 229A
New Zealand

Web links