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Curtin University
Staff Profile

Dr Christine Cooper

Dr Christine Cooper Dr Christine Cooper

BSc(Hons), PhD(UWA)

Position Senior Lecturer
Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School School of Science
Department Department of Environment and Agriculture
Campus Bentley Campus
Location 311.226
Phone 08 9266 7965
Fax 08 9266 2495
Email C.Cooper@curtin.edu.au

Brief Summary

Dr Christine Cooper is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environment and Agriculture. Her area of expertise is in vertebrate ecophysiology, with a particular emphasis on native Australian birds and mammals.

Overview

I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Western Australia, Perth in 1999, with majors in Zoology and Geography, and continued into the honours program in Zoology the following year. I commenced a PhD at the University of Western Australia under the supervision of Professor Philip Withers in 2001. My project was "Physiological specialisations of the numbat, Myrmecobius fasciatus Waterhouse 1836 (Marsupialia: Myrmecobiidae): a unique termitivorous marsupial". I examined various aspects of the physiology and behaviour of the numbat, and related their physiological and behavioural adaptations to biotic and abiotic factors within their environment and their life history strategy, examining these in context with the past and present geographical distribution of numbats.

In 2004 I was awarded a Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales. My research was primarily an investigation of the ecophysiology of Australian birds and mammals. I was interested in both standard laboratory-measured physiological parameters and field physiology, and how these are influenced by environmental parameters on a daily and a seasonal scale. I completed a project on body temperature regulation in free-ranging kookaburras, completed the first measurements of evaporative water loss and relative water economy for a marsupial during torpor, and examined phylogenetic, allometeric and environmental correlates of hetermothermy in birds and mammals.

I commenced as a Lecturer in the Deparment of Environmental Biology at Curtin University in 2005. Since this time, my major focus has been preparing and teaching a range of undergraduate units, supervising honours and postgraduate students, and conducting research related to the ecophysiology of Australian birds and mammals.

I have developed a number of national and international collaborative research programs, and have been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, Portland State University, Oregon;  Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Biology, UNESP, Brazil; Visiting Scholar, Department of Biology, Arizona State University; Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of New England; Visiting Senior Research Fellow, University of Wollongong, Visiting Reserach Fellow, James Cook University and a Visiting Researcher, Perth Zoo. I am also an Adjunct Lecturer, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, where I contribute to undergraduate teaching, supervise honours and postgraduate students and conduct research. I have additional collaborative links with the West Australian Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth Zoo, and the Malcolm Douglas Wildlife Park.

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Memberships, Awards and Training

 Memberships

Australian and New Zealand Society of Comparative Physiologists and Biochemists (website and membership co-ordinator)

Australian Mammal Society (Secretary 2009-2012)

Birdlife Australia

Forest Cockatoo Recovery Team

Muir's Corella Recovery Team

Project Numbat Community Group (Curtin University representative)

Royal Society of Western Australia

Research Grants

2006 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant "Evaporative water loss and Relative Water Economy in Marsupials" Project DPO665044, Chief Investigators C.E. Cooper and P.C. Withers

2007 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Project LP0776652 "Dynamics of animal mediated vegetation establishment and persistence in disturbed landscapes" Chief Investigators B.B. Lamont, J.D. Majer, G.I. Metternicht and C.E. Cooper.

2007 Centre for Ecosystem Diversity and Dynamics Grant "Ecology of Northern Sandplain Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna" Investigator C.E. Cooper.

2008 University of Western Australia small grants scheme grant "Body temperature regulation by small marsupials and birds", Chief Investigators P.C. Withers and C.E. Cooper.

2008 Centre for Ecosystem Diversity and Dynamics Grant "Physiology of the honey possum" Investigator C.E. Cooper

Awards

2012 Curtin Profesional Development award.

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Employment History

2000-2003       Laboratory demonstrator, Zoology, University of Western Australia

2004-2005       Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Zoology,University of New England

2005-2008       Lecturer, Environmental Biology, Curtin University

2009 - present Senior Lecturer, Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University

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Teaching

My teaching role as a teaching and research academic in a tertiary institution is to be an expert in my discipline who inspires, encourages, guides and assists students with learning information, concepts and skills relevant to becoming a professional within their chosen discipline. I believe strongly that at a tertiary level there should be a close association between research and teaching, and that the comprehensive, relevant, practical and up-to-date knowledge that an active researcher brings to the classroom is an essential component of effective tertiary-level teaching.

I am passionate about my discipline, and this passion translates into an enthusiastic teacher who aims to not only impart knowledge to students, but to inspire them to appreciate the diversity and wonder of the natural world. I wish to increase their intrinsic motivation to learn more about their discipline and to become active, engaged learners. I genuinely enjoy teaching and find considerable personal satisfaction in learning something new about my discipline via the interaction with my students whenever I step into the classroom.

Overall, I aim to be an outstanding role model to students, by applying a professional, organised, knowledgeable and accessible approach to all my interactions with students and other teaching and support staff.

I am responsible for the animal component of the Environmental Biology course at Curtin University. I am currently the coordinator for two undergraduate units; a second year zoology unit and an honours level expeirmental design and statsitics unit. I also teaching in units including marine diversity, animal and plant physiology and land and water resources. I supervise a range of third year, honours, Masters and PhD research projects, with students undertaking studies related to the ecophysiology of terrestrial vertebrate animals.

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Research Interests

My research interests and expertise are in the comparative ecophysiology of Australian vertebrates. I am interested primarily in the thermal, energy and water balance of terrestrial vertebrate animals, and the influence of phylogeny, body mass, life history and environmental factors on these physiological traits. My specific research projects to date have focused on the metabolic, water and thermal physiology of birds and mammals. I specialise in the measurement of metabolic rate (oxygen consumption rate, carbon dioxide production rate) and evaporative water loss using flow-through respirometry, ventilatory parameters using whole-body plethysmography, body temperature by radio-telemetry or implanted data loggers, and digestive and dietary characteristics using calorimetry. I have particular experience in the capture, handling, husbandry and study of native Australian terrestrial vertebrates. To facilitate my research I have developed expertise in practical and analytical skills such as basic computer programming (VB), formal phylogenetic analysis (Autoregression, PVR, IC, PLSR) and statistical analyses.

Research projects:

Evaporative water loss and relative water economy of marsupials

Repeatability and methodological influences on physiological measurements such as metabolic rate, evaporative water loss and ventilatory parameters.

Physiological response of herbivores to the scent of native and introduced predators

Use of torpor and hypothermia in small birds and mammals

Body temperature patterns of free-living birds and mammals

Biophysical properties of fur and feathers

Long-term ecological studies of mammals and reptiles in the Goldfields, northern sand plain and Banksia woodland regions of Western Australia.

Ecological bird studies involving mist netting and bird banding

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Publications

2016

Journal Articles (Research)

2015

Journal Articles (Research)

2014

Journal Articles (Research)

2013

Journal Articles (Research)

2012

Journal Articles (Research)

2011

Journal Articles (Research)

2010

Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)

2009

Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)

2008

Journal Articles (Research)

Conference Articles (Research)

2007

Journal Articles (Research)

2006

Journal Articles (Research)

2005

Journal Articles (Research)

2004

Journal Articles (Research)

2003

Journal Articles (Research)

Additional publication categories

2015

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

2014

Book Chapters - Other

2012

Book Chapters - Other

  • Cooper, C. E. 2012. “Sleep and Thermoregulation.” In Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams: The Evolution, Function, Nature, and Mysteries of Slumber, ed. Deirdre Barrett, Patrick McNamara, 634-635. Santa Barbara, California, USA: Greenwood.

2011

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Cooper, C. E. 2011.“Myrmecobius fasciatus (Dasyuromorphia: Myrmecobiidae).”Mammalian Species 43 (881): 129-140.

2009

Book Chapters - Other

2008

Book Chapters - Other

  • Withers, P. C., and C. E. Cooper. 2008. “Dormancy.” In Encyclopedia of Ecology, ed. Jorgensen S.E., *-*. Berlin: Elsevier.
  • Cooper, C. E., and P. C. Withers. 2008. “General Ecology: Animal Physiology.” In Encyclopedia of Ecology, ed. Jorgensen S.E., *-*. Berlin: Elsevier.
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