Professor Keith Christian did his PhD at Colorado State University on the determinants of space use by Galapagos land iguanas. He expanded his interests in tropical ecology while working at the University of Puerto Rico. He moved to Australia in 1985.
His interests include the physiological and behavioural adaptations of animals—particularly reptiles, amphibians and ants—in response to their physical environment. He has published in the areas of comparative physiology, physiological ecology, exercise physiology, thermoregulatory biology, respiratory physiology, biophysical ecology, and biological control.
Professor Christian has worked to establish methods for using weaver ants as biological control agents in tropical tree crops in northern Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Timor Leste.
Professor Christian has an interest in northern Australia’s rocks and this led to a research project exploring the communities of cyanobacteria that live under translucent rocks, such as quartz, agate, and prehnite in the Wave Hill region of the Northern Territory.
HDR project opportunity
This project aims to determine the environmental characteristics of mangrove snake habitats and the physiological traits that allow them to survive in the extreme and fluctuating intertidal zone.
Specifically, we will measure (1) environmental salinity and the associated osmoregulatory (salt balance) responses, (2) the thermal environment and the associated thermoregulatory responses, (3) the characteristics of available prey and the exact composition of the diet of the three sympatric snake species, and (4) the relationships of these with respect to snake movements and habitat selection on both daily and seasonal time scales.