Adam J Munn PhD
+61 2 4221 4459
Lab Phone: +61 2 4221 3014
How do animals survive extreme climates? This complex question has broad implication for understanding the evolution and persistence of species, particularly in the face of changing environments (e.g. food, weather, competition, predation). My work focuses on the physiological mechanisms that allow species to survive and adjust to varying circumstances, and links individual capabilities with larger-scale, ecological phenomena like population dynamics and biodiversity. My research interests are therefore broad, and include studies on animal energetics (thermoregulation, metabolism), functional anatomy (food intake and digestion), behavioural and physiological ecology and nutrition. Importantly I use controlled, laboratory approaches in conjunction with field studies to link quantitative experimental data with ecological outcomes.
Media and Popular Press
Mutant Planet, New Zealand Natural History - Kangaroo Survival
‘Ecological sense in Switcheroo’ - The Australian, April 15 2009
‘Roo beats Sheep’ – Australasian Science, June 2009
‘Roos have less impact: study’ – The Land, April 30 2009
National and International Radio (including ABC 702, BBC Radio)
…National Rural News, The Herald Sun, Indian Express and more…
‘Triumph der Wolle’ - Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung,
January 17 2010
‘Baby oxen face energy crisis’ – BBC Wildlife, July 2009
‘Young Arctic Muskoxen Better At Keeping Warm Than
Scientists Thought’ – Science Daily, July 2009
‘Muskox calves stay toasty in the cold’ - USA Today, 20 Aug 2009
Coping with Chaos: torpor and food predictability in dunnarts - BBC Wildlife, July 2010
Recent Representative Publications
Munn, A.J., Kern P., McAllan, B.M. (2010) Coping with chaos: unpredictable food supplies intensify torpor use in an arid-zone marsupial, the fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata). Naturwissenschaften 97:601–605
Munn, A.J., Dawson T.J., (2010) Mechanistic explanations for the drought-related mortality of juvenile red kangaroos (Macropus rufus): implications for population dynamics and modelling. In Coulson et al (Eds) “Biology of Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-kangaroos”. CSIRO Publishing, VIC. Pages 117-126
Munn, A.J., Barboza, P.S., Dehn, J. (2009) Sensible heat losses in muskoxen: juveniles are not at a thermal disadvantage relative to adult cows. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 82:455-67
Munn, A.J., Dawson T.J., McLeod, S.R., Croft D.B., Thompson, M.B., Dickman, C.R. (2009) Field metabolic rate and water turnover of red kangaroos and sheep in an arid rangeland: an empirically derived dry-sheep-equivalent for kangaroos. Australian Journal of Zoology 57(1): 23-28 (Cover Image)
Munn, A.J., Clissold F., Tarzisz, E., Kimpton, K., Dickman, C.R., Hume, I.D. (2009) Hindgut plasticity in wallabies fed unchopped or chopped and pelleted lucerne hay: fibre is not be the only factor. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 82(3): 270–279
Munn, A.J., Dawson, T.J., Maloney, S.K. (2007) Ventilation patterns in red kangaroos (Macropus rufus Desmarest): juveniles work harder than adults at thermal extremes, but extract more oxygen per breath at thermoneutrality. Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 2723-2729
Munn, A.J., Dawson, T.J. (2006) Forage fibre digestion, rates of feed passage and gut fill in juvenile and adult red kangaroos (Macropus rufus Desmarest): why body size matters. Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 1535-1547
Munn, A.J., Dawson, T.J. (2003) Energy requirements of the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus): impacts of age, growth and body size in a large desert-dwelling herbivore. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 173: 575-58
Searchable publication list:
Current Postgraduate Students
Esther Tarszisz - Gardeners of the forest: Qauntifying the role of orang-utans as seed dispersers in a Borneo peat forest (Co-supervisor Dr Mark E. Harrison BSc PhD, Managing Director, OuTrop - The Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project).
Jessica Ridenour - Predicting the climatic niche of kangaroos and their response in a changing climate. Supervisor Dr Michael Kearny, The University of Melbourne).
Sean Williamson (2011) Honours - Phenotptic plasticity of quail gizzards: WINNER 2011 Honours Prize, School of Biological Sciences.
Stephanie Phelan (2010) Honours - (University of Sydney) - A comparison of behaviour of wild-caught captive western grey and red kanagroos to free-ranging counterparts.
Mel Rigby (2010) Honours - (University of Sydney) - Characterising fecal cortisol as a marker of stress in wild caught western and red kanagroos.
Sophie Barwick (2010) Honours - (University of Sydney) – Which trap is best? Evaluating pitfall trap layouts for cost-effective trapping programs.
Pippa Kerns (2009) Honours – Unpredictable food supplies, torpor use and activity in an arid-zone marsupial, the fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata). (Publication: Munn et al. 2010, Naturwissenschaften 97:601).
Lauren Kaulkman (2009) Honours – Field metabolism and water use by western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) and sheep (Ovis aries)
Peta Skeers (2009) Honours – Foraging behaviour of western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) and sheep (Ovis aries) in an arid rangeland
Esther Tarszisz (2007) Masters Wildlife Health and Population Management – Gut plasticity in red-necked wallabies.
Suzie Tomlinson (2006) Honours - Marker passage and gut fill in tammar wallabies. (Publication: Munn et al. 2012 In Press)
Future Topics for Students
These are too numerous to list here! But a select few include:
1. Animal responses to variable food supplies (numerous species)
2. Physiology and ecology of invasive species
3. GPS and animal behaviour
I prefer to develop projects directly with students. So please feel free to contact me for discussions over coffee (or beer)
2010 – present, Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Wollongong, Australia
2008-2010 Lecturer, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Australia
2006-2007 Postdoctoral research fellow (APDI), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia
2005 Postdoctoral research fellow/Lecturer, Institute of Arctic Biology, Department of Wildlife Biology, The University of Alaska, Fairbanks USA
2003 PhD, The University New South Wales, Australia
1996 BSc., Advanced Science (Zoology) The University of New South Wales, Australia