Stewart Nicol is a research associate at the University of Tasmania. Much of his early research career was spent investigating the comparative physiology of Australian native animals. In 1986, after Gordon Grigg demonstrated that echidnas at Mount Kosciusko were true hibernators, Stewart began studying physiology of hibernation in Tasmanian echidnas. He soon realised that detailed field studies were required in order to understand the timing and ecological drivers of hibernation. This has led him and his students to investigate a wide range of aspects of echidna field biology including diet, olfactory communication, movements and home ranges, reproduction, and lactation. He has shown that the conflicting needs of hibernation and reproduction have resulted in an unusual mating system.