Ms Jenna Crowe-Riddell
Current PhD, University of Adelaide “Tail photoreception: investigating a novel sensory system in Australian sea snakes”. Supervisor: Dr Kate Sanders
2014 Ba of Science (First Class Honours), University of Adelaide “Scale sensillae: comparing mechanoreceptors in sea snakes and their terrestrial relatives”. Supervisor: Dr Kate Sanders
2012 Ba of Science (Evolution & Ecology), Australian National University
2015 Venomous animals collection trip, Brisbane - Gulf of Carpentaria, QLD; sea snake collection trip, Broome, WA
2014 Sea snake DNA collection, Dampier/Port Headland/Broome, WA
2012/13 Sea turtle and sea snake survey, Ashmore/Browse/Cartier/Hibernia/Scott/Seringapatam reefs, Timor sea
2011 Sea turtle tagging, Bare Sand Island, NT; Behavioural experiments with Superb fairy wrens, ACT
Awards & Achievements
2016 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, 8-10 months exchange at the University of Florida
I am interested in the evolutionary biology of vertebrate sensory systems. I have long been fascinated by the way every living organism exists in and shares their environment with other organisms and yet, through their unique set of sensory systems forms an entirely different perception of their surrounding world. Pythons can sense infrared, many birds can see ultraviolet and a stingray can feel the electromagnetic field of its prey. My research asks the broad question: how do these differences in sensory abilities shape the evolutionary trajectory of that species?
My PhD project aims to combine approaches from varying disciplines in order to describe a unique sensory ability in sea snakes. Night divers first observed the remarkable adaptation of the olive sea snake (Aipysurus laevis) when they noticed that sheltering snakes retracted their vulnerable tail paddles in response to torchlight. This was the first recording of a reptile responding to light on the skin and this rare example of ‘eyeless’ vision may represent a new predator escape strategy. My research aims to resolve the genetic, physiological and ecological basis of tail photoreception in sea snakes by integrating genomics, microscopy, behavioural and morphological analyses. Once complete, my project can serve as a model for integrative biological research with outcomes that can be easily transferable to other species.
Hermon Slade Foundation for the project: "Tail photoreception: Discovering a novel sensory system in Australian sea snakes" awarded jointly with Dr Kate Sanders
Environmental Institute Seed Grant for the project: "Tail photoreception: Discovering a novel sensory system in Australian sea snakes" awarded jointly with Dr Kate Sanders
2016 Student travel grant, Australian Society of Herpetology 2016 Tasmania conference
2015 Summer Scholarship for the Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide
2015 Open Day Presenter at Elder Hall, Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide
2015 Student representative, Open Day Committee, University of Adelaide
Science presenter, SACE Open Day
Night lab volunteer, South Australia Museum
Bar volunteer, WOMADelaide Festival
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Entry last updated: Friday, 4 Mar 2016