Kate Sanders

Dr Kate Sanders

ARC Future Fellow

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

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


Kate's research focuses primarily on trait evolution and speciation in squamate reptiles, and the evolution of sensory systems in the transition to aquatic habitats in snakes. Her research has a substantial fieldwork component focused primarily in Indonesia and Western Australia; this has led to the discovery of new species, and generated ecological and distributional data that have contributed to conservation assessments.

Kate's research group focuses primarily on trait evolution and speciation in squamate reptiles. Current projects involve: 1) phylogenetic and population genomic approaches to understanding the biogeographic origins of sea snake diversity in the Indo-Australian marine biodiversity hotspot; 2) reconstructing morphological evolution in sea snakes, especially the remarkably frequent origin of ‘microcephalic’ burrowing-prey specialists and possible role in promoting reproductive isolation and rapid species diversification; 3) the evolution of sensory systems in the transition to aquatic habitats in snakes, including transcriptomic studies of tail (skin) photoreception and vomeronasal gene family evolution. Kate’s research has a substantial fieldwork component focused primarily in Indonesia and Western Australia. This has led to the discovery of new species, and generated ecological and distributional data that have contributed to conservation assessments. She co-chairs the IUCN/SSC Sea Snake Specialist Group.

Fieldwork

1996: Volunteer - Natal Crocodile Farm, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

1997: Reptile and bird diversity surveys for the Campfire Association, Zimbabwe

1998: Team leader ‘University of Aberdeen Expedition to the Western Ghats, India’

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003: 8 months doctoral sample collection in Thailand,Indonesia, Philippines.

2004-2011: 22 months reptile collection in Central Thailand, West Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku Utara).

2012-2014: 3 months sea snake survey and sample collection in West Papua and NW Australia.

Investigating the genes and population histories that drive rapid adaptive change and speciation. Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (Level 1) 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016-17.

Biodiversity of critically endangered but poorly-known sea snakes in northwest Australia. Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), 2014, 2015, 2016.

Sea snake diversification: Why are certain taxa and regions species-rich. Australian Research Council Discovery Project with Mike Lee 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

Investigating the impact of seismic surveys on threatened sea snakes in Australia's North West Shelf. Australia Pacific Science Foundation with Mick Guinea, 2012, 2013, 2014. http://apscience.org.au/projects/APSF_12_5/apsf_12_5.html

Tail photoreception: Discovering a novel sensory system in Australian sea snakes. Hermon Slade Foundation. 2015. http://www.hermonslade.org.au/projects/HSF_15_10/hsf_15_10.html

EVOLUTION AND PALAEOBIOLOGY III; Course co-coordination, lecturing, designing and running practicals, exam and assay assessment (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014).

ISSUES IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY III: Course co-coordination, project supervision, report and presentation assessment (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Principal Supervisor Evolution and Systematics of Sea Snakes (Hydrophiinae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr James Henry Nankivell
    2018 Principal Supervisor Study of Visual Evolution of Lizards Using Genetics and Anatomy/Histology Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Matthew John Robert Ford
    2016 Principal Supervisor The evolution of skull shape and function in turtles Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ray Chatterji
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor The Evolution of Cutaneous Senses in Marine Snakes (Hydrophiinae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jenna Crowe-Riddell
    2015 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Skull Evolution in the Australian Dragon Lizards Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Jaimi Ann Gray
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Systematics, Evolution and Biogeography of Viviparous Sea snakes of the Indo-Pacific Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Kanishka Dimithra Bandara Ukuwela
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - 2019 Member National Committee for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Australian Academy of Sciences Australia
  • Position: ARC Future Fellow
  • Email: kate.sanders@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4364
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Darling, floor 2
  • Room: 2 06
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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