Todd McWhorter

Dr Todd McWhorter

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal and Veterinary Science

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

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

I am an ecological physiologist interested in how vertebrate animals function and how function evolves. As my research program has matured, I’ve become more interested in applied problems. In the past decade my research has focused on the emerging area of conservation physiology and medicine- applying the concepts and methodologies of these fields to pressing problems in conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in general, especially as related to human-induced landscape changes and global climate change. Most recently, my research program has expanded into animal welfare- particularly using physiological and behavioural indicators to study and optimise the welfare of captive wildlife and production animals.

My post-graduate research training and the first 15 years of my academic research career focused primarily on the mechanisms of digestion and nutrient absorption, modelling digestive capacity, nutritional ecology, kidney function, and salt and water balance, research areas for which I am internationally most well-known. Much of this work focused on nectar-feeding birds, including New World hummingbirds, Old World sunbirds and Australian honeyeaters, but it also included marine finfish (aquaculture nutrition/gastrointestinal function).

Current research projects include: 1) thermoregulation, heat tolerance, metabolism and heat-related stress responses in wild native Australian birds, 2) the effects of land use changes and habitat fragmentation on bird populations, 3) control of invasive feral predators to protect native wildlife, 4) ecology and conservation of African carnivores, 5) anthropogenic effects on zoo animal welfare, and 6) honeyeater feeding behaviour/biomechanics and pollination biology.

I am always happy to talk to students about potential summer research, honours and PhD projects.

Teaching Interests

Veterinary physiology, comparative physiology, vertebrate physiological ecology, environmental physiology, nutrition, conservation physiology.

I am currently the course coordinator for Veterinary Anatomy & Physiology III (VET SC 3520 A/BRW) taken by our 3rd year Veterinary Bioscience undergraduates.  Any queries or administrative matters regarding this course should be directed to me.

I also teach into Veterinary Anatomy & Physiology II, Physiology for Veterinary Technologists I and Comparative Animal Anatomy & Physiology IIA/B.

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Studying Visitor-Stress Interaction and Public Perception at Gladys Porter Zoo for Exotic Animal Welfare Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Claudia Martinez
    2024 Co-Supervisor An investigation of enabling factors and obstacles to successful animal management programs in Australian indigenous communities. Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Dr Megan Heather Ann Pickering
    2024 Co-Supervisor Efficacy of training and enrichment to improve welfare: How can animal training be applied across settings to help animals live a good life? Examining the physiological and behavioural effects of scent work for domestic dogs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Jade Fountain
    2021 Principal Supervisor Anthropogenic Effects on Zoo Animal Welfare Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Claudia Pei Pei Tay
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - 2024 Co-Supervisor Challenges in Developing and Testing Novel Control Techniques for Feral Cats Felis catus. Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Ned Levi Ryan-Schofield
    2016 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Understanding lipid utilisation in large (>2 kg) Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Samantha Naomi Chown
    2015 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Thermoregulation in exercising horses: Aspects of temperature monitoring during field exercise Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Part Time Dr Lidwien Verdegaal
    2015 - 2024 Principal Supervisor The ecology and conservation significance of African leopards (Panthera pardus pardus) on Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, South Africa. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Declan Robert Morris
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor The Physiology and Pathology of Heat Stress in Australian Desert Birds Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Shangzhe Xie
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83137896
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83137956
  • Campus: Roseworthy
  • Building: Eastick Building, floor First Floor
  • Room: 1.11
  • Org Unit: School of Animal and Veterinary Science

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