Emma Sherratt

Dr Emma Sherratt

ARC Ext-Funded Rsch Fellow (C)

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


ARC Future Fellow (previously Research Fellow on the DVCR early career research fellowship scheme).

I am an Evolutionary Biologist. My research aims to understand how the diversity of animals and plants we see around us today came about.

I am an expert in morphometrics - the statistical analysis of organismal form (shape and size), which I apply to the study of morphological trait evolution at macroevolutionary scales. I also use these methods to answer questions pertaining to systematics and phylogenetics, biogeography, environmental adaptation, developmental biology and palaeontology.

My day-to-day research is computer based and museum focussed. I use cutting-edge 3D technology, such as X-ray microCT and laser scanning, to get digital anatomical information from museum specimens. Then I take precise measurements on these morphological structures and use statistical analysis to test specific hypotheses about morphological trait variation.

From 2013-2017 I was co-author of the widely used R package 'geomorph' for statistical analysis of multivariate and multidimensional data. I continue to write code for my own research projects and teach workshops in morphometrics.

Reptiles and amphibians are my passion, but I have worked on a diverse array of animals including snakes, rabbits and mice, caecilian amphibians, Anolis lizards, bivalved scallops, and frogs (and their tadpoles). I have also supervised students studying morphological evolution of dung beetles, lizards, marsupials, primates, bird eggs and even plant leaves.

Contact me for research collaboration opportunities and morphometrics training.

I am happy to take students at all levels (undergraduate student summer scholarships, undergraduate honours, masters and PhD). I have projects available using morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods to answer questions in evolutionary biology, developmental biology, palaeontology and ecology. Email me for details.

Current Honours Opprtunities: http://www.emmasherratt.com/uploads/2/1/6/0/21606686/honours_projects_qmg_2021.pdf

I investigate macroevolutionary trends in the morphological evolution of organisms to understand the historical factors responsible for biodiversity. My empirical research has focused primarily with reptiles and amphibians, but also includes mammals, beetles and molluscs. I apply my expertise in 3D digital imaging (micro-CT, surface scanning and microscopy) to characterise morphological variation, and also use these data to contribute to systematics (taxonomy) and phylogenetics.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2020 - 2024 ARC Future Fellow University of Adelaide
    2019 - 2019 Lecturer (Teaching-Research Academic) University of Adelaide
    2017 - 2019 Research Fellow University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2016 - 2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Australian National University, Canberra
    2014 - 2016 Lecturer in Zoology University of New England
    2013 - 2014 Postdoctoral Research Assistant Iowa State University, Ames
    2011 - 2013 Postdoctoral Research Assistant Harvard University, Cambridge
    2006 - 2007 Research Technician University of Manchester, Manchester
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2020 Fellowship ARC Future Fellowship The University of Adelaide Australia $681,697
    2019 Award Women’s Research Excellence Award The University of Adelaide Australia $5000
    2018 Award Travel Award from Society for the Study of Evolution Society for the Study of Evolution France US $5,000
    2017 Award Early Career Researcher International Conference Travel Award The University of Adelaide Australia $2000
    2017 Fellowship Early Career Research Fellowship The University of Adelaide Australia $20,000 plus salary
    2017 Recognition Best talk Australian National University Australia
    2012 Award Postdoctoral Award for Professional Development Harvard University United States US$1,000
    2007 Scholarship PhD Scholarship, National Environmental Research Council (NERC) industrial collaborative awards in science and engineering (CASE) University of Manchester United Kingdom
    2006 Award Zoology Prize of Excellence University of Manchester United Kingdom
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    French Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
    German Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2007 - 2011 University of Manchester, Manchester United Kingdom Ph.D. Animal Biology
    2002 - 2006 University of Manchester, Manchester United Kingdom B.Sc. Zoology with Industrial Experience
  • Research Interests

Research Grants

2020 Discovery Project (co-lead CI, with Prof Mike Lee Flinders University), Australian Research Council (DP200102328)  

  • 3-years’ research funds, $425,930

2020 Future Fellowship, Australian Research Council (FT190100803)           

  • 4-years’ salary and research funds, $681,697 

2018 Research Fellowship, University of Adelaide, SA AUS (13120262)        

  • 12-months’ salary and research funds, $125,590

2017 Research Fellowship, University of Adelaide, SA AUS (13117787)        

  • 12-months’ salary and research funds, $121,400 

2007 Ph.D. studentship, Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) UK Industrial Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering (CASE) studentship (NE/F009011/1 ES)                              

  • 3.5-years stipend and research funds, £48,000

2005 Student Grant, British Herpetological Society, UK        

  • Research funds £1,000

2005 Summer Studentship Grant, Natural History Museum London, UK        

  • Research funds £1,000

Travel Grants

2018 Travel Award from Society for the Study of Evolution         

  • Travel grant (US$500) to attend Evolution Joint Congress in Montpellier, France

2017 Early Career Researcher International Conference Travel Scheme, University of Adelaide, SA AUS    

  • Travel grant (AU$2,000) to attend Evolution, Portland OR USA 

2012 Postdoctoral Award for Professional Development, Harvard University, MA USA         

  • Travel grant (US$1,000) to attend World Congress of Herpetology, Vancouver Canada    

2003 Zochonis Special Enterprise award, The University of Manchester, UK        

  • Travel grant (£1,000) to join Operation Wallacea conservation group in Indonesia

Coordinator

Principles & Practices of Research (Advanced) (SCIENCE 1300, 2300, 3100) 

  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology discipline                                                                                                           

Guest Lecturer

Research Methods in Evolutionary Biology III (ENV BIOL 3535 Sem 1)

  • Trait evolution lecture

Evolutionary Biology III (ENV BIOL 3590 Sem 2)

  • Snake practical class

University of California, Merced, CA USA

  • Online discussion about my research for Herpetology (BIO 158 Spring)

University of Idaho, ID USA

  • Online discussion about my research for Herpetology (BIOL 489 Fall)                               
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Principal Supervisor Evolutionary Constraints and Trade-Offs in the Locomotor Morphology of Birds and Mammals Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Ellen May Martin
    2022 Principal Supervisor Dimensions of bony foramina as an indirect measure of blood flow rate: Inferences across phylogenetic and ontological sequences Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Thomas Jack Nelson
    2022 Principal Supervisor An exploration of sexual dimorphism within Australian snakes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Tamika Jayne Nash-Hahn
    2021 Principal Supervisor To advance knowledge on the phylogenetic status of the Australian hare and investigate changing morphologies involved in locomotion and dispersal ability of this species. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Nuttakorn Taewcharoen
    2020 Co-Supervisor Morphology and ecology of Ediacaran fossils from Nilpena Station (Ediacara Conservation Park, Flinders Ranges, South Australia) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Tory Lyn Botha
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 - ongoing Other Adaptation and constraint in macrostomatan snake jaws University of Chicago Ph.D. Evolutionary Biology Doctorate Full Time Danny Rhoda
    2022 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Diving in the dark: morphological diversity of subterranean beetles The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Yuxuan Zhao
    2021 - ongoing Other Spatial variability in carapace morphology for Sternotherus carinatus (razor-backed musk turtle). Stephen F. Austin State University Master's of Science in Natural and Applied Science Master Part Time Robert Zac Selden, Jr.
    2021 - ongoing External Supervisor Cranial evolution in the Pygopodidae – ontogeny, ecology and divergence in skull shape of legless lizards Murdoch University Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Matthew Patterson
    2021 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Phenotypic plasticity in Tiger Snakes The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Ammresh
    2021 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Vertebral evolution of snakes The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Tamika Nash-Hahn
    2021 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Morphological evolution of Diplodactyloid geckos The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Amy Green
    2021 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Ecomorpholgical diversity of rabbits across South Australia The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Ellen Martin
    2021 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Morphology and genetics of Australian rabbits The University of Adelaide School of Biological Sciences - Undergraduate Summer Scholarship Other Full Time Peter Brownridge
    2020 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Cranial and dental phenomics associated with Fibroblast Growth Factor gene knockout (FGF10+/-) mutation The University of Adelaide Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science in Dentistry Honours Full Time Jenny Tan
    2019 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Morphological Evolution of Foot Morphology in Australian Passerine Birds The University of Adelaide School of Biological Sciences - Undergraduate Summer Scholarship Other Full Time Ellen Martin
    2019 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Constructing the insect morphospace The University of Adelaide School of Biological Sciences - Undergraduate Summer Scholarship Other Full Time Jackson Dann
    2019 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Eoandromeda, the Ediacaran Fossil The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Tory Botha
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Morphological Evolution of Dung Beetles University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology Honours Full Time Alex Harvey
    2018 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Geometric Morphometrics University of Adelaide Bachelor Science (Environmental Science and Engineering) Other Part Time Dylan Simunsen
    2018 - 2019 Co-Supervisor What Makes a Dingo? Investigating the Variation in the Dingoes’ Skeletal Morphology The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Ecology and Environmental Science Honours Full Time Aurelie Kanishka
    2017 - 2018 External Supervisor Ontogenetic shifts in the diet and skull morphology of the dugite (Pseudonaja affinis) Murdoch University Bachelor of Science with Honours Honours Part Time Matthew Patterson
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Morphology, Biomechanics and Diet in Anthropoidea (Primates) University of New England Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Hiu Ying Luk
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor The cranial mechanics of herbivory in diprotodont marsupials: an integrated geometric morphometric and finite element approach University of New England Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time David Rex Mitchell
  • Mentoring

    Date Topic Location Name
    2019 - 2021 Geometric morphometrics, MSc candidate University of Otago Lachie Scarsbrook
    2017 - 2019 Geometric morphometrics, PhD candidate University of Adelaide Jaimi A Gray
    2017 - ongoing Geometric morphometrics, PhD candidate The University of Adelaide Ray Chatterji
  • Position: ARC Ext-Funded Rsch Fellow (C)
  • Phone: 83131550
  • Email: emma.sherratt@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham, floor 1
  • Org Unit: School of Biological Sciences

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