I set out with the intention of becoming a vet. However, quickly learnt during my Biology undergrad at the University of Queensland that the intriguing world of wildlife ecology was where I wanted to be - the seed was planted, and continued to grow from a fierce passion for reptiles.
This scaly passion lead me to tackle an Honours project investigation how Eastern water dragons choose to the ultimate active or dormancy times across seasons in SE Queensland, with Prof Gordon Grigg and Dr Robbie Wilson.
After the typical full-on honours year, I took a 2-year hiatus from the University of Queensland bubble to swan around in nearby streams. Employed as an Aquatic Scientist for the Queensland Government, I spent my days deploying underwater domes and netting bugs to help watch over the health of SE Queensland waterways.
After much persuasion (ahem…. a trip to the USA), Robbie convinced me to return to the research life - in his Performance Lab of course - reigniting my passion for all things reptilian and the perfect body temp. So, I embarked on what would turn into a 6-year endeavor to get my PhD - on the topic of sexual evolution of morphology and performance in the Asian house gecko. My PhD was stretched to the max as I crammed in mammoth data collection periods, multiple field-based tutoring trips and international conferences…..with tacked on adventures around the world.
At the tail end of my PhD, I fell into my role as THE Performance Lab’s Research Manager because our lab was growing and Robbie needed someone to organise his academic life. But this role wasn’t all about sorting Robbie’s shyte – it meant I got to take on the fun stuff too – managing the large remote fieldwork contingent of our lab on Groote Eylandt, NT – rock-hopping with Northern quolls.
Once I sent that PhD brick of a thesis off, I started my first post-doc position testing the interplay between oxygen and thermal extremes limiting the performance and success of the Eastern mosquito fish. And now, while continuing my Research Manager role, I will be starting off on a new post-doc on Groote Eylandt, NT - investigating the role of trace metal contamination in the ecology of native Australian mammals.
So it seems Robbie’s persuasive powers will have me stay in the Performance Lab for many more years to come….if he continues to let me travel.
I am addicted to traveling and experiencing what this wonderfully diverse world has to offer. I am an avid nature seeker and always try to incorporate as much wildlife viewing, photography, trekking and exploring on my adventures. When I travel, my passion for wildlife conservation grows and grows as I see what the world is sadly losing. And it is for this reason I am aiming to drive my research and career in a conservation management direction.
More recently I have pursued my passion for peace of mind and flexibility and am now a Yoga instructor in my spare time. One day I hope to open my own eco-yoga retreat in northern NSW, making Yoga, nature and a peaceful life available to all – of course with a little science on the side!
Cameron SF, Wynn, ML and Wilson RS (2013). Sex-specific trade-offs and compensatory mechanisms: bite force and sprint speed pose conflicting demands on the design of geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus). Journal of Experimental Biology 216, 3781-3789.