Genomic consequences of major ecological transitions in evolution

Olive sea snake

An olive sea snake (Aipysurus laevis) swimming underwater. Credit: Graham Edgar.

This honours project asks, ‘what are the genomic consequences of major ecological transitions in evolution’?

The project will use a comparative analysis of whole genome sequences for terrestrial and marine snakes.

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.


Associate Professor Kate Sanders | Alastair Ludington | Dr Jimmy Breen (co-supervisors)

Research area: Evolution and conservation of reptiles

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology

Tagged in Honours projects - Evolution and palaeobiology, Honours projects - Animal science, Honours projects - Ecology and environmental science, Honours projects - Kate Sanders, Honours projects - Jimmy Breen