Dr Claire Maria Postlethwaite


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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. (2017). Spirals and heteroclinic cycles in a spatially extended Rock-Paper-Scissors model of cyclic dominance. EPL (Europhysics Letters), 117 (4), 48006-48006. 10.1209/0295-5075/117/48006
  • 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
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Walker, Rebecca Turner
  • 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
  • Ashwin, P., & Postlethwaite, C. (2016). Quantifying Noisy Attractors: From Heteroclinic to Excitable Networks. SIAM JOURNAL ON APPLIED DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS, 15 (4), 1989-2016. 10.1137/16M1061813
  • Keane, A., Krauskopf, B., & Postlethwaite, C. (2016). Investigating Irregular Behavior in a Model for the El Nin͂o Southern Oscillation with Positive and Negative Delayed Feedback. SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, 15 (3), 1656-1689. 10.1137/16M1063605
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrew Keane, Bernd Krauskopf
  • Purewal, A. S., Krauskopf, B., & Postlethwaite, C. M. (2016). Global Effects of Time-Delayed Feedback Control Applied to the Lorenz System. Paper presented at International Conference on Control of Self-Organizing Nonlinear Systems, Warnemunde, GERMANY. 25 August - 28 August 2014. CONTROL OF SELF-ORGANIZING NONLINEAR SYSTEMS. (pp. 23). 10.1007/978-3-319-28028-8_5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bernd Krauskopf
  • Keane, A., Krauskopf, B., & Postlethwaite, C. (2015). Delayed Feedback Versus Seasonal Forcing: Resonance Phenomena in an El Nin͂o Southern Oscillation Model. SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, 14 (3), 1229-1257. 10.1137/140998676
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bernd Krauskopf, Andrew Keane
  • Postlethwaite, C. M., & Walker, M. M. (2014). A model for navigational errors in complex environmental fields. Journal of theoretical biology, 363, 134-144. 10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.08.014
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Walker

Contact details

Primary location

Level 2, Room 229A
New Zealand

Web links