Professor Sandie Degnan

Professorial Research Fellow

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science
+61 7 334 69005


Evolutionary and ecological genomics of marine invertebrate animals.

Animals evolve because their genomes need to respond to the constantly changing environment presented by both their external habitat and their internal microbial symbionts. Over evolutionary time, these different factors interact during development, when the animal body plan is being established, to generate the extraordinary animal diversity that graces our planet. In ecological time, early life history stages must detect and respond to the precise nature of their environment to generate a locally-adapted functional phenotype. Using coral reef invertebrates from phyla that span the animal kingdom, we study these gene-environment interactions using genomic, molecular and cellular approaches combined with behavioural ecology in natural populations. We work mostly with embryonic and larval life history stages of indirect developers, as these are crucial to the survival, connectivity, and evolution of marine populations. When not immersed in the molecular or computer lab, we are lucky enough to be immersed in the ocean, often in beautiful places!


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Book Chapter

  • Borchiellini, Carole, Degnan, Sandie M., Le Goff, Emilie, Rocher, Caroline, Vernale, Amélie, Baghdiguian, Stephen, Séjourné, Nina, Marschal, Florent, Le Bivic, André, Godefroy, Nelly, Degnan, Bernard M. and Renard, Emmanuelle (2020). Staining and Tracking Methods for Studying Sponge Cell Dynamics. Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin and Other Marine Invertebrates . (pp. 81-97) edited by David J. Carroll and Stephen A. Stricker. New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0974-3_5

  • Degnan, Bernard M., Adamska, Maja, Richards, Gemma S., Larroux, Claire, Leininger, Sven, Bergum, Brith, Calcino, Andrew, Taylor, Karin, Nakanishi, Nagayasu and Degnan, Sandie M. (2015). Porifera. Evolutionary developmental biology of invertebrates 1: introduction, non-bilateria, acoelomorpha, xenoturbellida, chaetognatha. (pp. 65-106) edited by Andreas Wanninger. Vienna, Austria: Springer Verlag. doi: 10.1007/978-3-7091-1862-7

  • Watson, Jabin, Degnan, Bernard, Degnan, Sandie and Krömer, Jens O. (2014). Determining the biomass composition of a sponge holobiont for flux analysis. Metabolic flux analysis: methods and protocols. (pp. 107-125) edited by Jens O. Krömer, Lars K. Nielsen and Lars M. Blank. New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1170-7_7

  • Heyland, Andreas, Degnan, Sandie and Reitzel, Adam M. (2011). Emerging patterns in the regulation and evolution of marine invertebrate settlement and metamorphosis. Mechanisms of life history evolution: The genetics and physiology of life history traits and trade-offs. (pp. 29-42) edited by Thomas Flatt and Andreas Heyland. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Bernard M. Degnan, Adamska, Maja, Craigie, Alina, Degnan, Sandie M., Fahey, Bryony, Gauthier, Marie, Hooper, John N. A., Larroux, Claire, Leys, Sally P., Lovas, Erica and Richards, Gemma S. (2009). The Demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica: Reconstructing the ancestral metazoan genome and deciphering the origin of animal multicellularity. Emerging Model Organisms: A Laboratory Manual. (pp. 139-166) edited by Gann, Alexander and Crotty, David. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  • Baverstock, P. R., Degnan, S. and Joseph, L. (1994). Units of management in biological conservation. Conservation Biology in Australia and Oceania. (pp. 287-293) Chipping Norton, NSW: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision