Craig’s interest in comparative physiology can be traced to two events. The first was a question asked by Professor Roger Seymour in an undergraduate lecture in 1999: “why is the scaling exponent of metabolic rate three-quarters?”; the second was an undergraduate field trip to the Australian arid zone, where he and some other students attempted to excavate a burrow constructed by an inland robust scorpion. These experiences led to an undergraduate research project measuring the energetics of burrowing in scorpions, an honours project investigating the gas exchange properties of animal burrows, and a PhD project examining the scaling of metabolic rate in mammals. All were conducted under the supervision of Professor Seymour at the University of Adelaide.
After completing his PhD in 2004, Craig moved from Adelaide to the University of Birmingham in the UK to work with Professors Graham Martin and Pat Butler on the visual and energetic determinants of pursuit-dive foraging in great cormorants. He returned to Australia in 2007 to take up a position as Lecturer in Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology and establish a research group at the University of Queensland. In 2009 he was awarded a QEII Research Fellowship by the Australian Research Council, as well as a Research Excellence Award by the UQ Foundation; in 2011 he received the President’s Medal for the Animal Section of the Society for Experimental Biology; and in 2013 he was promoted to Associate Professor and awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. In 2015 he moved from UQ to Monash University to take up a Professorship in the School of Biological Sciences.
Craig’s current research focuses on the evolution of periodic ventilation in insects, macrophysiological and allometric variation in the energy expenditure of animals, and the role of physiology in structuring communities. He leads a group working on species that are usually selected according to the August Krogh principle “For many problems there is an animal on which it can be most conveniently studied”. Thus, ongoing research includes slime moulds, scarab beetles, bumble bees, cockroaches, air-breathing fish, rainbowfish, cane toads, Drosophila, and a range of squishy benthic marine invertebrates. Much of this work is conducted in the laboratory, but field work has recently been undertaken in Crete, the UK, and Far North Queensland.Follow @Craig_R_White