From land to sea - the visual evolution of elapid snakes
Use sequence and expression analyses of sensory genes and spectrophotometry to explore the visual - or chemosensory - evolution of elapid snakes in their transition from land to sea.
Kate's group focuses on speciation, trait evolution and biodiversity discovery/conservation, especially in aquatic snakes. Current projects involve:
- Sequencing sea snake genomes to uncover population history and genomic patterns of speciation.
- 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.
- Molecular evolution of sensory systems in the transition to aquatic habitats in snakes, including vision, skin photoreception and chemoreception.
- Sea snake conservation genetics and management in partnership with Western Australian trawl fisheries.
Our research has a substantial fieldwork component focused primarily in Indonesia and Western Australia.