Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr James Van Dyke

Dr James Van Dyke

BSc, General Biology and Ecology, Florida Institute of Technology, 2004 PhD, Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, 2011

Dr James Van Dyke is an ecophysiologist interested how animals "work", and how they are affected by environmental disturbances, like pollution or global warming.  He applies his work to understand how animals decline as a result of environmental change. He completed his PhD at the University of Arkansas in 2011, which focused on reproductive biology of vertebrates, mainly snakes and turtles. From 2011-2012, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at Virginia Tech, where he assessed how turtles were impacted by a massive coal fly-ash spill in Tennessee, USA.  He then moved to The University of Sydney on a National Science Foundation (USA) International Research Fellowship to study the evolution and physiology of the placenta in vertebrates (2012-2014), using lizards, mammals, and sharks as model systems. From 2015-2017, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Western Sydney University, where he studied the causes of major turtle declines in the Murray River Catchment.

Top of page

Current teaching responsibilities at CSU:

Principles of Ecology (BIO112)

Past teaching experience:

Vertebrate Biodiversity , Animal Ecophysiology , Comparative Animal Physiology, Human Physiology, Principles of Zoology

Top of page

Research Projects:

1)    Conservation and restoration of freshwater turtles in Australia

2)    Ecophysiology and conservation of alpine placental lizards (Pseudemoia and Niveoscincus)

3)    Evolution of the placenta and live birth in vertebrates

Current Research Students:

Claudia Santori (PhD): Ecological roles of declining turtles in Australia

Alice Buddle (PhD): Proteomics and genomics of placental evolution in vertebrates

Heather Cameron (MS): Headstarting as a conservation tool for Australian freshwater turtles

Harriet Gabites (MS): Impact and roles of turtles on freshwater ecosystems

Past Research Students:

Kristen Petrov (Hons): "Water regulation and the dispersal of agricultural nutrients:  Impacts on turtle competition in the Murray River, Australia"

Oliver Griffith (PhD): "Mechanisms of placental evolution: the genetics and physiology of pregnancy in lizards"

Top of page

Professional and Public Services

Associate Editor, Journal of Herpetology

Organizer of 2015 and 2017 Australian Turtles in Crisis SymposiaProfessional member of the general committee of the Australian Herpetological Society

Top of page

  1. Spencer, R.J., J.U. Van Dyke, and M.B. Thompson. In Press. Critically evaluating best management practices for preventing freshwater turtle extinctions. Conservation Biology. Accepted 20 March 2017
  2. *McGlashan, J.K., M.B. Thompson, J.U. Van Dyke, and R.J. Spencer. In Press. Thyroid hormones reduce incubation period without developmental or metabolic costs in Murray River short-necked turtles (Emydura macquarii). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. Accepted 14 August 2016
  3. Spencer, R.J., J.U. Van Dyke, and M.B. Thompson. The Ethological Trap: Functional and numerical responses of highly efficient invasive predators driving prey extinctions. Ecological Applications. 26(7): 1969-1983.
  4. Van Dyke, J.U., *C.M. Bodinof Jachowski, D.A. Steen, B.P. Jackson, and W.A. Hopkins. Spatial differences in trace element bioaccumulation in turtles exposed to a partially remediated coal fly-ash spill. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 36(1): 201-211.
  5. *Dormer, J., J.M. Old, J.U. Van Dyke, and R.J. Spencer. 2016. Incubation temperature affects development order of morphological features and staging criteria in turtle embryos. Journal of Zoology. 299(4): 284-294.
  6. Van Dyke, J.U., L.A. Lindsay, C.R. Murphy, and M.B. Thompson. 2015. Carbonic anhydrase II is found in the placenta of a viviparous, matrotrophic lizard and likely facilitates embryo-maternal CO2 transport. Journal of Experimental Zoology B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution.324: 636-646.
  7. †*Griffith, O.W., D.G. Blackburn, M.C. Brandley, J.U. Van Dyke, C.M. Whittington, and M.B. Thompson. 2015. Ancestral state reconstructions require biological evidence to test evolutionary hypotheses: A case study examining the evolution of reproductive mode in squamate reptiles. Journal of Experimental Zoology B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 324: 493-503.
  8. Steen, D.A., J.U. Van Dyke, B.P. Jackson, and W.A. Hopkins. 2015. Reproduction and hatchling performance in freshwater turtles associated with a remediated coal fly-ash spill. Environmental Research. 138: 38-48.
  9. Van Dyke, J.U., D.A. Steen, B.P. Jackson, and W.A. Hopkins. 2014. Maternal transfer and embryonic assimilation of trace elements in freshwater turtles after remediation of a coal fly-ash spill. Environmental Pollution. 194: 38-49.
  10. Van Dyke, J.U., *O.W. Griffith, and M.B. Thompson. 2014. High food abundance permits the evolution of placentotrophy: evidence from a placental lizard, Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii. The American Naturalist. 184(2): 198-210.
  11. Steen, D.A., *B.C. Hopkins, J.U. Van Dyke, and W.A. Hopkins. 2014. Prevalence of ingested fish hooks in freshwater turtles from five rivers in the southeastern United States.  PLoS One. 9(3): e91368.
  12. †Van Dyke, J.U., M.C. Brandley, and M.B. Thompson. 2014. The evolution of viviparity: molecular and genomic data from squamate reptiles advance understanding of live birth in amniotes. Reproduction. 147(1): R15-R26.
  13. Van Dyke, J.U., M.L. Beck, B.P. Jackson, and W.A. Hopkins. 2013. Interspecific  differences in egg     production affect egg trace element concentrations after a coal fly-ash spill. Environmental Science and Technology. 47(23): 13763-13771.
  14. Van Dyke, J.U., W.A. Hopkins, and B.P. Jackson. 2013. Influence of relative trophic position and carbon source on selenium bioaccumulation in turtles from a coal fly-ash spill site. Environmental Pollution. 182: 45-52.
  15. *Griffith, O.W., J.U. Van Dyke, and M.B. Thompson. 2013. No implantation in an extrauterine pregnancy of a placentotrophic reptile. Placenta. 34(6): 510-511.
  16. Van Dyke, J.U., S.J. Beaupre, and D.L. Kreider. 2012. Snakes allocate amino acids acquired during vitellogenesis to offspring: are capital and income breeding consequences of variable foraging success? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 106: 390-404.
  17. Van Dyke, J.U. and S.J. Beaupre. 2012. Stable isotope tracer reveals that viviparous snakes transport amino acids to offspring during gestation.  The Journal of Experimental Biology. 215(5): 760-765.
  18. Van Dyke, J.U. and S.J. Beaupre. 2011. Bioenergetic components of reproductive effort in viviparous snakes: Costs of vitellogenesis exceed costs of pregnancy. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, A. 160: 504-515.
  19. Van Dyke, J.U., M.V., Plummer, and S.J. Beaupre. 2011. Residual yolk energetics and postnatal shell growth in smooth softshell turtles, Apalone mutica. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, A. 158: 37-46.
  20. Dyke, J.U. and M.S. Grace. 2010 The role of thermal contrast in infrared-based defensive targeting by the copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix. Animal Behaviour. 79: 993-999.

Invited Book Chapters

  1. Van Dyke, J.U. 2014. Cues for reproduction in squamate reptiles. Pp 109-143 in Lizard Phylogeny and Reproductive Biology. Eds J.L. Rheubert, D.S. Siegel, and S.E. Trauth. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
  2. Beaupre, S.J., J. Agugliaro, J.U. Van Dyke, and F. Zaidan III. In Press. Annual energy budgets of the Timber Rattlesnake: advancements, refinements, and open questions. Biology of the Rattlesnakes, Vol. 2. Eds M.J. Dreslik, W.K. Hayes, S.J. Beaupre, and S.P. Mackessy. ECO Herpetological, Rodeo, NM.

Top of page