Tail photoreception in Australian sea snakes
Night divers first discovered light sensitivity in the olive sea snake (Aipysurus laevis) when they noticed that sheltering snakes retracted their tails in response to torchlight. My PhD research aim to understand the evolutionary origins and molecular mechanisms of remarkable trait.
This research is supported by the Hermon Slade Foundation. Read more here.
Global genetic structure in the yellow bellied sea snake
The yellow-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis platurus) is the only truly pelagic species of snake that traverses the Indian and Pacific oceans, and presumably represents a single pan-oceanic population. To test this idea, we are developing a gene capture array to examine genetic structure of this global species.
We need DNA samples! If you have seen this snake or collected skin samples please contact me.
Tactile sensing in snakes
I'm interested in how sea snakes have evolved to sense the underwater world. In a recent study, I looked at small scale organs called 'scale sensilla' that appear to have increased in size in sea snakes, perhaps giving them an enhanced tactile sense. You can read my blog post on our publication in Open Biology. Media coverage by Australian Geographic, IFL Science and Cosmos.