Phone: 02 9351 3991
Fax: 02 9351 4119
Location: A08 - Heydon-Laurence Building, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
My main research interests lie in the evolutionary ecology of reptiles. I use lizards and turtles as model systems to explore various topics on life-history evolution and behavioural ecology. I have investigated the phenotypic response of reptile embryos to their incubation environment, and the cause and consequences of phenotypic variation in life histories. I am also fascinated by how animals cope with the currently changing environment, which would include enormous cosequences related to evolution and ecology.
University of Sydney 2003-04
Predator-prey co-evolution has aroused many ecologists’ interest and can be studied from various perspectives. I worked with a nocturnal rock-dwelling gecko (Oedura lesueurii) that co-occurs with two species of sympatric snakes (Hoplocephalus bungaroides and Cryptophis nigrescens) that differ in foraging modes.
To understand how the geckos make decisions to minimize the risk of predation, I measured the behavourial responses of geckos to different types of predator in the laboratory. To determine the importance of prey cues (e.g. airborne scent, visual cues) for foraging of the snakes, I measured retreat-site selection of Hoplocephalus bungaroides.
China Research Projects
I am also interested in phenotypic variation in life histories and its proximate and ultimate causes. For my PhD, I measured reproductive output and life-history traits of eight geographically-separated populations in a Chinese lacertid lizard Takydromus septentrionalis and then manipulated in the laboratory some maternal and environmental factors, such as female body cavity and food availability, to identify the causes of the geographic variation. Females from widely-separated localities differ in a variety of life-history traits, including body sizes at maturation, fecundity, egg size, and Relative Clutch Mass. Abdomen cavity and food availability constrain female reproductive output but have little effect on egg size.
Female Takydromus septentrionalis
I am also fascinated by the secret of embryonic development of reptiles. I have investigated the effects of biotic and abiotic factors experienced by reptilian embryos on hatchling traits (morphology, behaviour, growth) and survival, and eventually on the reproductive success of the females. Turtles and lizards were my favourite animals and were selected as model systems in most of my studies in this respect. The viable range of incubation temperatures differed significantly among species, which was associated with their macro- and/or micro- thermal habitat. Not only the mean but also the range of fluctuating temperatures influenced hatchling traits. To a large extent, moisture had little effect on reptilian eggs and their hatchlings.
Chinese three-keeled pond turtle, Chinemys reevesii
PhD in Ecology, Zhejiang University
Master of Ecology Degree, East China Normal University
Bachelor of Biology Degree, Zhejiang Normal University
For my full Curriculum Vitae visit
Some papers are available as pdf files. To read these you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.
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Acta Zoologica Sinica website http://www.actazool.org
||Ji, X.,Du, W. G., Sun Ping-Yue. 1996. Body temperature, thermal tolerance and influence of temperature on sprint speed and food assimilation in adult grass lizards,Takydromus septentrionalis.Journal of Thermal Biology21:155-161.|
||Ji, X., Sun Ping-Yue,Du, W. G. 1997. Selected body temperature, thermal tolerance and food assimilation in a viviparous skink,Sphenomorphus indicus.Netherlands Journal of Zoology47:103-110.|
||Ji, X.,Du, W. G., Xu Wei-Qing. 1999. Experimental manipulation of egg size and hatchling size in the cobra,Naja naja atra.Netherlands Journal of Zoology49:167-175.|
||Du, W. G., Yan Shui-Juan, Ji, X. 2000. Selected body temperature, thermal tolerance and thermal dependence of food assimilation and locomotor performance in adult blue-tailed skinks,Eumeces elegans.Journal of Thermal Biology25:197-202.|
||Ji, X.,Du, W. G.2000. Sexual dimorphism in body size and head size and female reproduction in a viviparous skink,Sphenomorphus indicus.Zoological Research21:349-354.|
||Ji, X., Sun Ping-Yue, Xu Xue-Feng,Du, W. G.2000. Relationships among body size, clutch size and egg size in five species of oviparous colubrid snakes from Zhoushan islands, Zhejiang, China.Acta Zoologica Sinca46:138-145.|
||Ji, X., Xu Xue-Feng,Du, W. G.2001.Female reproductive output and neonate characteristics in a viviparous water snake (Sinonatrix annularis).Acta Zoologica Sinica 47:231-234.|
||Ji, X.,Du W. G.2001. Effect of thermal and hydric environments on incubating eggs and hatchling traits in the cobra,Naja naja atra.Journal of Herpetology35:186-194.|
||Ji, X.,Du W. G. 2001. The effects of thermal and hydric environments on hatching success, embryonic use of energy and hatchling traits in a colubrid snake,Elaphe carinata.Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology129A:461-471.|
||Ji, X.,Du W. G., Xu Xue-Feng. 2001. Influences of thermal and hydric environments on incubating eggs and resultant hatchlings in a colubrid snake (Xenochrophis piscator).Acta Zoologica Sinica47:45-52.|
||Du, W. G., Ji, X. 2001. Growth, sexual size dimorphism and female reproduction of blue-tailed skinks,Eumeces elegans.Zoological Research 22:279-286.|
||Du, W. G., Ji, X., Xu, Wei-Qing. 2001. Dynamics of material and energy during incubation in the soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis).Acta Zoologica Sinica 47:371-375.|
||Du, W. G., Ji, X. 2001. Influence of incubation temperature on embryonic use of material and energy in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis).Acta Zoologica Sinica47:512-517.|
||Du, W. G., Ji, X. 2002. Effects of incubation temperature on duration of incubation, hatching success, and hatchling traits in the gray rat snake,Ptyas korros(Colubridae).Acta Ecologica Sinica22:548-553.|
||Du, W. G., Ji, X. 2003. The effects of incubation thermal environments on size, locomotor performance and early growth of hatchling soft-shelled turtles,Pelodiscus sinensis.Journal of Thermal Biology 28:279-286.|
||Du, W. G., Shou, L., Liu, J. K. 2003. The effect of incubation temperature on egg survival, hatchling traits and embryonic use of energy in the blue-tailed skink,Eumeces elegans.Animal Biology 53:27-36.|
||Du, W. G., Lu, Y. W., Ji, X. 2003. Utilization of lipid in northern grass lizards,Takydromus septentrionalis, in Hangzhouin the breeding season. Zoological Research 24:392-394.|
||Ji, X., Chen, F.,Du, W. G., Chen, H. L. 2003. Incubation temperature affects hatchling growth but not sexual phenotype in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle,Pelodiscus sinensis(Trionychidae).Journal of Zoology (London) 261:409-416.
||Du, W. G., Zheng, R. Q. 2004. Egg survival and hatchling traits of the Chinese three-keeled pond turtle (Chinemys reevesii) incubated in different hydric environments.Acta Zoologica Sinica 50:133-136.|
||Du, W. G.2004. Water exchange of flexible-shelled eggs and its effect on hatchling traits in the Chinese skinkEumeces chinensis.Journal of Comparative Physiology B 174:489-493.|
||Du, W. G., Xie, X. H. 2005. Factors affecting escape behavior ofSphenomorphus indicus.Chinese Journal of Ecology 24:461-463.
||Du, W. G., Lin, C. X., Shou, L., Ji, X. 2005. Morphological correlates of locomotor performance in four species of lizards using different habitats. Zoological Research 26:41-46.
||Du, W. G., Lu, Y. W., Shen, J. Y. 2005. The influence of maternal thermal environments on reproductive traits and hatchling traits in a Lacertid lizard,Takydromus septentrionalis.Journal of Thermal Biology 30:153-161.
||Du, W. G., Ji, X., Shine, R. 2004. How does a female lizard decide on her clutch size?Biology Letters 1:98-100.
||Du, W. G., Shou, L., Shen, J. Y., Lu, Y. W. 2005. Influence of fluctuating incubation temperatures on hatchling traits in a Chinese skink,Eumeces chinensis.The Herpetological Journal 15:139-142.
||Du W-G, Ji X, Zhang YP, Xu XF, Shine R. 2005. Identifying sources of variation in reproductive and life history traits among five populations of a Chinese lizard (Takydromus septentrionalis,Lacertidae).Biological Journal of Linnean Society 85:443-453.|
||Du, W. G.2006. Phenotypic plasticity in reproductive traits induced by food availability in a lacertid lizard,Takydromus septentrionalis.Oikos 112:363-369.
||Du, W. G., Ji, X. 2006. Effects of constant and fluctuating temperatures on egg survival and hatchling traits in the northern grass lizard (Takydromus septentrionalis, Lacertidae).Journal of Experimental Zoology 305A:47-54.
||Du, W. G.2006. Preferred body temperature and thermal tolerance of the northern grass lizardTakydromus septentrionalisfrom localities with different longitudes.Acta Zoologica Sinica 52:478-482.
||Ji, X.,Du, W. G., Li, H., Lin, L. H. 2006. Experimentally reducing clutch size reveals a fixed upper limit to egg size in snakes, evidence from the king rat snake,Elaphe carinata.Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 144:474-478.
||Du, W. G., Shou, L., Shen, J. Y. 2006. Habitat selection in two sympatric Chinese skinks,Eumeces elegansandSphenomorphus indicus: do thermal preferences matter?Canadian Journal of Zoology 84:1300-1306.
||Du, W. G., Ji, X., Zhang, Y. P. 2006. Inter-population variation in life-history traits of a Chinese lizard (Takydromus septentrionalis, Lacertidae).Herpetological Journal 16:233-237.
||Du, W. G., Zheng, R. Q., Shu, L. 2006. The influence of incubation temperature on morphology, locomotor performance and cold tolerance of hatchling Chinese three-keeled pond turtles,Chinemys reevesii.Chelonian Conservation and Biology 5:294-299.
||Allsop, D. J., Warner, D., Langkilde, T.,Du, W. G., Shine, R. 2006. Do operational sex ratios influence sex allocation in viviparous lizards with temperature-dependent sex determination? Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19:1175-1182.
||Du, W. G., Lu, Y. W., Shu, L., Bao, Y. X. 2007. Thermal dependence of food assimilation and locomotor performance in juvenile blue-tailed skinks,Eumeces elegans.Animal Biology 57:29-38.
||Ji, X.,Du, W. G., Lin, Z. H., Luo, L. G. 2007. Measuring temporal variation in reproductive output reveals optimal resource allocation to reproduction in the northern grass lizard,Takydromus septentrionalis.Biological Journal of Linnean Society 91:315-324.|
||The effects of FSH on the reproductive output and hatchling’s traits in the black-bellied box turtle,Cuora flavomarginata. Zhejiang Provincial Nature Science Foundation.|
||Visiting scholar award from Bao’s Foundation, China.|
||Reproductive life history of the Reeves’ turtle (Chinemys reevesii). Zhejiang Educational Bureau Research Fund.|
||Geographic variation on thermal biology and life history in the grass lizard,Takydromus septentrionalis. Hangzhou Governmental Award.|
||Cold tolerance of the black-bellied box turtle,Cuora flavomarginata. Hangzhou Normal College Research Grants.|
||Effects of temperature on eggs and hatchlings in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle,Pelodiscus sinensis. Zhejiang Educational Bureau Research Fund.|
||Reproductive investment in egg and residual yolk of a colubrid snake,Elaphe carinata. Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation (with Xiang Ji).|
||Intra- and inter-population variations on reproductive output in the cobra,Naja naja atra. Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (with Xiang Ji).|
||Thermal biology of the blue-tailed skink,Eumeces elegans. Hangzhou Normal College Research Grants.|