Position
Research Scientist (Restoration Ecophysiology)
Address
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue
West Perth Western Australia 6005
Email
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Phone
(+61 8) 9480 3923
Fax
(+61 8) 9480 3641

Research themes

  • Comparative animal physiology
  • Conservation physiology
  • Animal ecophysiology
  • Biogeographical rules
  • Landscape ecology
  • Marsupial biology
  • Insect biology
  • Pollination biology (in ecological and restoration contexts).

Academic background

I graduated from the University of Western Australia completing a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Zoology and Botany in 2004. My honours were in Zoology with a group research project on the Summer Ecophysiology of the Honey Possum (Prof. S.D. Bradshaw supervising) and an individual research project entitled Comparative Metabolic Physiology of Australian Rodents (Prof. P.C. Withers and Dr. J.E. O’Shea supervising). Following my Honours I was employed as an environmental consultant to mining and development interests across much of Western Australia, largely with an interest in fauna programs and the environmental impact assessment process. Throughout my academic career I have been associated with animal conservation and management through casual appointments with various environmental consultancies and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

I undertook my PhD at the University of Western Australia, entitled Physiological and Behavioural Responses of Western Australian Dunnarts (Sminthopsis spp.) to Energetic Challenge (2007-2011, supervised by Prof. P.C. Withers and S.K. Maloney). My thesis focused on the specialisation of metabolism and evaporative water loss in thermoregulation to adapt carnivorous marsupials to hyper-arid ecosystems. Despite expectations that these would be “hardwired” responses of the taxa, I found a number of flexible aspects of these traits that allowed different species to optimise their responses to the resources available in the ecosystem. These specialisations had flow-on effects to their capacity to persist and reproduce in deserts. During my PhD I collaborated on projects investigating the ecophysiology of thynnine and ichnuemonid wasps, the physiological limitations of unique, desert-dwelling trap-door spiders and their conservation and management in mining operations, and the use of radioactive isotopes to measure energy requirements of diverse species of animals, including insects, in their natural environment.

In late 2011 I began a post-doctoral research fellowship based between The University of Western Australia and Kings Park and Botanic Gardens on an ARC funded project headed by Raphael Didham and Kingsley Dixon. The project is entitled The Spatial Energetics of Pollination Failure in Habitat Restoration and extends the studies of restoration of Banksia woodlands undertaken by staff and students at Kings Park into a mechanistic understanding of the restoration of pollination services. In addition, we will pursue studies on the physiological tolerances and limitations of some of Australia’s most tightly co-evolved plant/pollinator associations, and develop cutting edge techniques to measure the physiological responses of insect pollinators in their natural environment. The projects will be conducted in association with Kings Park and Botanic Gardens’ broader programs of orchid conservation and pollination ecology. Despite a very diverse flora, little is known about pollination in most plant families in Western Australia, creating the opportunity for exciting and practical research.

Publications

Refereed publications

7. Tomlinson, S.; Withers, P.C. and Maloney, S.K. (2012) Comparative Thermoregulatory Physiology of Two Dunnarts, Sminthopsis macroura and Sminthopsis ooldea (Marsupialia; Dasyuridae). Australian Journal of Zoology AT REVIEW.
6. Mason, L.D.; Tomlinson, S.; Withers, P.C. and Main, B.Y. (2012) Thermal and hygric physiology of Australian burrowing mygalomorph spiders (Aganippe spp.). Journal of Comparative Physiology B IN PRESS.
5. Tomlinson, S.; Withers, P.C. and Maloney, S.K. (2012) Flexibility in Thermoregulatory Physiology of Two Dunnarts, Sminthopsis macroura and Sminthopsis ooldea (Marsupialia; Dasyuridae). Journal of Experimental Biology 215: 2236-2246.
4. Tomlinson, S. and Phillips, R.D. (2012) Metabolic rate, evaporative water loss and field activity in response to temperature in an ichneumonid wasp. Journal of Zoology 287: 81–90. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2012.00903.x
3. Tomlinson, S. and Withers, P.C. (2009) Biogeographical effects on body mass of native Australian and introduced mice, Pseudomys hermannsburgensis and Mus domesticus: an inquiry into Bergmann’s Rule. Australian Journal of Zoology 56:423–430.
2. Tomlinson, S.; Withers, P.C. and Cooper, C. (2007). Hypothermia versus torpor in response to cold stress in the native Australian mouse Pseudomys hermannsburgensis and the introduced house mouse Mus musculus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 148:645-650.
1. Bradshaw, S.D.; Phillips, R.D.; Tomlinson, S.; Holley, B.J.; Jennings, S. and Bradshaw, F.J. (2007). Ecology of the Honey possum, Tarsipes rostratus, in Scott National Park, Western Australia. Australian Mammalogy 29: 25-38.

Conference presentations

2011: Australia and New Zealand Society of Comparative Physiologists and Biochemists (ANZSCPB), Hobart 2011. The Physiology of Australian Mygalomorph Spiders (Aganippe spp.): Conservation and Management Implications.

2010: Australia and New Zealand Society of Comparative Physiologists and Biochemists (ANZSCPB), Canberra 2010. The Role of Thermoregulation in Energetics and Water Economy: a Case Study of Western Australian Dunnarts.

2009: Australian Wildlife Management Society (AWMS) Conference, Napier 2009. Wasp Pollinators of South-western Australia - Comparative Physiology and Distribution Models.

2009: International Congress of Mammalogy X, Mendoza 2009. 86Rb: A Novel Tool for the Measurement of FMR - A case study in Western Australian Dunnarts. Poster presentation

2009: Australian Mammal Society, Perth 2009. 86Rb: A Novel Tool for the Measurement of FMR - A case study in Western Australian Dunnarts.

2007: Australia and New Zealand Society of Comparative Physiologists and Biochemists (ANZSCPB), Perth 2007. Body mass of native and introduced Australian mice: an inquiry into Bergmann’s Rule.

2007: Royal Society of Western Australia Postgraduate Research Symposium. Adaptive change in body mass of native Australian and introduced mice: an inquiry into Bergmann’s Rule.

2005: Australia and New Zealand Society of Comparative Physiologists and Biochemists (ANZSCPB), Dunedin 2005. Comparative physiology of native Australian and introduced mice, Pseudomys hermannsburgensis and Mus musculus: facultative hypothermia and torpor in response to cold stress.