My whole childhood I wanted to be a vet. However, I quickly learnt during my Biology undergrad at UQ that the intriguing world of wildlife ecology was where I wanted be, not dealing with people’s pets. My BSc introduced me to the potential for a career of fieldwork and native wildlife – the seed was planted, and continued to grow primarily from a passion for reptiles.
All things reptiles lead me to tackle an Honours project investigating how Eastern water dragons choose the ultimate active or dormancy times across seasons in SE Queensland, with Prof Gordon Grigg and A/Prof Robbie Wilson.
After the typical full-on honours year, I took a 2-year hiatus from UQ to work as an Aquatic Scientist for the Queensland Government. I spent many months in the field looking at benthic metabolism and aquatic invertebrates to assess the health SE Queensland waterways.
After much persuasion (…. a trip to the USA), Robbie Wilson convinced me to return to the university research life - in his Performance Lab of course - reigniting my passion for all reptiles and the evolution of thermal biology. 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 finally sent my PhD 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 am undertaking a new post-doc on Groote Eylandt, NT - investigating the role of trace metal contamination in the ecology of native Australian mammals. While also teaching the new cohort of PhD, Masters and Honours students.
So it seems Robbie’s persuasive powers will have me stay in the Performance Lab at least a few 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 exponentially 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 a calm state of mind in our hectic world 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!
Abdul Nasir AF, Cameron SF , von Hippel FA, Postlethwait J, Niehaus AC, Blomberg S and Wilson RS (In review) Manganese accumulates in the brain of northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) living near an active mine. Journal of Environmental Pollution
Charters JE, Heiniger J, Abdul Nasir AF, Cameron SF, Clemente CJ, Niehaus AC and Wilson RS (In review) Variation in overall physical quality masks performance trade-offs in the carnivorous marsupial, Dasyurus hallucatus. Functional Ecology
Cameron SF, Wheatley, R and Wilson RS (In review) Sex-specific thermal sensitivities of performance and activity in the gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus. J. Comparative Physiology B
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.