Members of the White lab are interested in describing and understanding the causes and consequences of broad-scale variation in the physiology of animals. We study a range of traits, with an emphasis on metabolic rate, water loss, and breathing patterns, and employ a range of approaches including manipulative experiments, comparative studies, experimental evolution, and quantitative genetic analyses.

Members of the lab work on a range of species, which 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, research has been undertaken with a diverse array of species (see below).  Much of our work is conducted in the laboratory using Speckled cockroaches Nauphoeta cinerea, Red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, and Drosophila as model species, but recent field work has also been undertaken in the UK and Australia, with previous field work including Crete and French Guiana.

Present work encompasses three main themes:

  • The evolution of periodic ventilation in insects
  • Macrophysiological and allometric variation in the energy expenditure of animals
  • The role of physiological traits in structuring ecological patterns

Our research is currently funded by a Discovery grant and a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council.

Marine Invertebrates

Bryozoan Hippoporina indica
Bryozoan Bugula neritina
Bryozoan Bugula stolonifera
Bryozoan Schizoporella sp.
Bryozoan Watersipora subtorquata
Polychaete Hydroides diramphus
Polychaete Janua pagenstecheri
Barnacle Balanus amphitrite
Sponge Sycon sp.
Sponge Porania sp.
Ascidian Styela plicata
Ascidian Botrylloides sp.
Ascidian Diplosoma listerianum
Ascidian Didemnum sp.
Ascidian Botryllus sp.


Inland robust scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi

Speckled cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea
Red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum
Bumblebee Bombus terrestris
Hedge grasshopper Valanga irregularis
Migratory locust Locusta migratoria
Cowboy beetle Chondropyga dorsalis
Brown cockchafer Rhopaea magnicornis
Mole cricket Gryllotalpa monanka
Rhinoceros beetle Xylotrupes ulysses
Rhinoceros beetle Oryctes nasicornis
Scarab beetle Cyclocephala colasi
Glowworm Arachnocampa flava
Flower beetle Protateia cretica
Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila serrata

Leichhardtian river prawn Macrobrachium tolmerum
Two-toned fiddler crab Uca vomeris


Ornate rainbowfish Rhadinocentrus ornatus
Threadfin rainbowfish Iriatherina werneri
Pacific blue-eye Pseudomugil signifer
Pearl gourami Trichogaster leeri
Mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki
Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens

Bridled frog Litoria nigrofrenata
Ornate burrowing frog Platyplectrum ornatum
Striped burrowing frog Cyclorana alboguttata
Striped marsh frog Limnodynastes peronii
Cane toads Bufo marinus

Closed-litter rainbow-skink Carlia longipes
Common blue-tongued skink Tiliqua scincoides
Pink-tongued skink Cyclodomorphus gerrardii
Cunningham’s skink Egernia cunninghami
Major skink Bellatorias frerei
Tree skink Egernia striolata
Night skink Liopholis striata
Desert skink Liopholis inornata
Garden skink Lampropholis delicata
Estuarine crocodile Crocodylus porosus

Barnacle goose Branta leucopsis
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor
Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Double-crested cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus

Southern hairy-nosed wombat, Lasiorhinus latifrons
Brush-tailed rock-wallaby, Petrogale penicillata
Spinifex hopping mouse Notomys alexis
Laboratory mice Mus musculus
Homo sapiens