USA beckons for sea snake PhD researcher

Jenna Crowe-Riddell (BSc Hons, 2014) has an incredibly exciting opportunity ahead of her after receiving the 2016 Australian-American Fulbright Scholarship.

The University of Adelaide PhD student has been exploring the unique and fascinating sensory biology of sea snakes. As a result of the prestigious scholarship she will be jetting off to Florida to continue her studies alongside some of the world’s leading reptile experts. Her new project will form a part of her PhD research on tail photoreception in sea snakes.

“I’m looking forward to being in a new research environment in which I can learn from experts in my field. I’m also excited for the field trip opportunities as Florida has some really interesting animals and unique ecosystems,” Jenna says.

She hopes that the scholarship will boost her experience in reptile physiology and evolution and as a science communicator.

“Being in the US will give me the opportunity to share my research with many people and institutions. I am hoping my collaboration with the University of Florida will build an enduring research connection for my lab here at the University of Adelaide.”

Jenna has previously received research grants from the Hermon Slade Foundation and an Environmental Institute Seed grant for new initiatives for her PhD project entitled ‘Tail photoreception: Discovering a novel sensory system in Australian sea snakes’, awarded jointly with her supervisor Dr Kate Sanders. Jenna credits Kate as one of the reasons she moved to Adelaide, after being inspired by her research on the evolution of sea snakes. When a joint Honours project was suggested, she jumped at the opportunity to work with Kate and moved to continue her PhD at The University of Adelaide.

“My Honours degree and my PhD candidature to date at The University of Adelaide have given me the confidence to trust my instincts as a scientist: to question, think about and test my expectations of the Earth’s natural systems.”

Outside of study, Jenna encourages fellow students and alumni to actively participate in volunteering. In 2015, Jenna volunteered to speak about her experiences as a student to an audience of over 400 people at the University’s Open Day, an opportunity as part of her involvement on the Open Day Committee.

To hear more about Jenna’s studies, listen to her interview with Radio Adelaide – Making sense of sea snakes.

Read more about the Fulbright Scholarship

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