PhD (University of Adelaide)
Position: ARC QEII Research Fellow

Room: 359 Goddard Building 8
Phone: +61 7 3365 8539


Research Interests

Members of the White lab are interested in describing and understanding the causes and consequences of broad-scale variation in the physiology of animals. Research encompasses a range of spatial scales from global (e.g. basal metabolism of birds and gas exchange in insects), to intermediate (e.g. energy expenditure of cormorants that roam throughout Greenland), and local (e.g. visual function in fish from creeks that vary in tannin content and water colour).

Members of the lab work on a range of species, which are usually selected according to the August Krogh principle “For many problems there is an animal on which it can be most conveniently studied”. Thus, research has been undertaken with scorpions, mole crickets, scarab beetles, bumble bees, air-breathing fish, cane toads, crocodiles, garden skinks, hopping mice, wombats, flamingoes, geese, and cormorants, among others. Much of our work is conducted in the laboratory, but recent field work has been undertaken in Crete, the UK, and Fraser Island, Queensland.

Present work encompasses three main themes:

  • The evolution of periodic ventilation in insects

  • Macrophysiological and allometric variation in the energy expenditure of animals

  • Visual ecophysiology at the air/water interface: acuity, spectral sensitivity and visual ecology of fish and piscivorous birds

Selected Publications

Schimpf, N.G. Matthews, P.G.D., and White, C.R. (2012). Cockroaches that exchange respiratory gases discontinuously survive food and water restriction. Evolution 66: 597-604.

White, C.R., Kearney, M.R., Matthews, P.G.D., Kooijman, S.A.L.M., and Marshall, D.J. (2011). A manipulative test of competing theories for metabolic scaling. American Naturalist 178: 746-754.

White, C.R., Blackburn, T.M., and Seymour R.S. (2009). Phylogenetically informed analysis of the allometry of mammalian basal metabolic rate supports neither geometric nor quarter-power scaling. Evolution 63: 2658-2667.

White, C.R., Blackburn, T.M., Terblanche, J.S., Marais, E., Gibernau, M., Chown, S.L. (2007). Evolutionary responses of discontinuous gas exchange in insects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 104: 8357-8361.

White, C.R. and Seymour, R.S. (2003). Mammalian basal metabolic rate is proportional to body mass2/3. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 100: 4046-4049.


Funded Projects

Testing metabolic theories in ecology
Grand Body: ARC
Grant Period: 2011-2013
Value: $310,000

The evolution of energy metabolism in ectotherms
Grant Body: ARC
Grant Period: 2009-2013
Value: $730,000

The evolution of periodic ventilation in insects
Grant Body: ARC
Grant Period: 2008-2011
Value: $400,000

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