The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Shane Maloney

Assoc/Prof Shane Maloney

Head of School
Human Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Human Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M309)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3394
+61 8 6488 1025
Room 1.02, Physiology Building, Perth campus
Key research
My field of research is comparative physiology. My research objective is to identify and explore the physiological mechanisms used by organisms (mainly mammals and birds) to adapt to environmental stressors. My principal area of focus is thermal physiology, particularly the regulation of brain temperature, and the consequences of strategies used by animals to maintain thermal homeostasis.
Because my curiosity is easily aroused in an interesting problem, our lab has collaborations in diverse areas. Recent examples are work in fields as diverse as giraffe hemodynamics, alpaca nutrition, and animal ethics and welfare. But the underlying theme is constant – a desire to understand how animals work (to borrow a term from Knut Schmidt-Nielsen).
Being diverse is hopefully an advantage as ‘integrative physiology’ (the word integrative is surely redundant) comes more into vogue. The generalists will have the big picture overview required to put results into whole-organism or whole-ecosystem paradigms. This lab aims to provide that capacity.
International linkages:
South Africa- University of the Witwatersrand: Prof. Duncan Mitchell, Prof. Andrea Fuller, Prof. David Gray. Ongoing collaboration since the 1990’s
USA- University of Wyoming: Prof. Graham Mitchell
Germany- University of Giessen: Prof. Claus Jessen (now retired)
Germany- Johann Wolfgang Goethe University: Prof. Elke Schleucher Research collaboration and co-supervision of students
Germany- Max Planck Institute for Ornithology: Germany Prof. Niels Rattenborg
Saudi Arabia- National Wildlife Research Centre: Prof. Mohammed Shobrak
National Collaborations:
Department of Primary Industries, NSW
Agriculture Department, Western Australia
LiveCorp, Meat and Livestock Australia
New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change (formerly National Parks and Wildlife Service)
Rio Tinto Ltd
University of Sydney
Murdoch University
Book Chapters and conference proceedings (2003+ )

1Maloney SK. (2003). Altas temperatures, procesos fisiologicos y produccion animal (High temperatures, physiological processes, and animal production). Proceedings of the conference on Fisologia de la reproduccion en ruminates (Physiology of reproduction in ruminants). Sept 2003, Texcoco, Mexico.

2Accioly JM, Beatty DT, Barnes AL, Pethick DW, Taylor EG, Tudor GD, White CL, Maloney SK, McCarthy MR, Pluske JR, and Costa ND. (2003). Nutrition during live export of cattle. In: Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia. (Ed. J.L. Corbett). Animal Science, University of New England. Vol 14, 49-56.

3Maloney SK (2008) The ‘clean, green, and ethical’ management of heat stress in large animals. ‘Clean, Green and Ethical’ Animal Production in Thailand. Vadhanabhuti K, Vercoe PE and Blache D (Eds). Australia – Thailand Institute.

4Dawson TJ and Maloney SK. (2008). The significance of fur characteristics in the thermal challenges posed by solar radiation: an underestimated role and source of adaptability. 4th CPB Meeting in Africa: Mara 2008. "Molecules to migration: The pressures of life" (Ed Morris S and Vosloo A). Medimond Publishing Co, Bologna, Italy. Pages 361-374.

5Fuller A, Hetem R, Meyer LCR, Mitchell D, Maloney SK. (2008). Selective brain cooling: a physiological mechanism for coping with aridity. 4th CPB Meeting in Africa: Mara 2008. "Molecules to migration: The pressures of life" (Ed Morris S and Vosloo A). Medimond Publishing Co, Bologna, Italy. Pages 375-382.

6Mitchell D, Fuller A, Hetem RS, Maloney SK. (2008). Climate change physiology: the challenge of the decades? 4th CPB Meeting in Africa: Mara 2008. "Molecules to migration: The pressures of life" (Ed Morris S and Vosloo A). Medimond Publishing Co, Bologna, Italy. Pages 383-394

Refereed journal articles (2003+ )

Maloney SK, Fuller A, Mitchell D (2009) Climate change: is the dark Soay sheep endangered? Biology Letters. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0424

Maloney SK, Fuller A, Meyer LCR, Kamerman PR, Mitchell G, and Mitchell D. (2009) Brain thermal inertia, but no evidence for selective brain cooling, in free-ranging western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus). Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 179:241-251.

Hetem RS, de Witt BA, Fick LG, Fuller A, Kerley GIH, Meyer LCR, Mitchell D, and Maloney SK . (2009). Body temperature, thermoregulatory behaviour and pelt characteristics of three colour morphs of springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 152:379-88.

Hetem RS, de Witt BA, Fick LG, Fuller A, Kerley GIH, Maloney SK , Meyer LCR, Mitchell D. (2009). Shearing at the end of summer affects body temperature of free-living Angora goats (Capra aegagrus) more than does shearing at the end of winter. Animal. 3:1025-1036.

Mitchell D, Fuller A, Mitchell G and Maloney SK . (2009). Does bipedalism aid homeothermy: water shortage not solar radiation is the main threat to the homeothermy of baboons (Papio hamadryas)? The Journal of Human Evolution. 56:439-446.

Houghton LA, Dawson B, Maloney SK (2009) Effects of wearing compression garments on thermoregulation during simulated team sport activity in temperate environmental conditions. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 12:303-309.

Marsh MK, McLeod, Hansen SA, Maloney SK . (2009). Anaesthetic induction in wild rabbits using a new alfaxalone formulation. The Veterinary Record. 24:122-123.

Gray DA, Maloney SK , Kamerman PR. (2008) Restraint increases afebrile body temperature but attenuates fever in Pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). American Journal of Physiology Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 294, R1666-R1671.

Hetem RS, Mitchell D, Maloney SK , Meyer LC, Fick LG, Kerley GI and Fuller A. (2008). Fever and sickness behavior during an opportunistic infection in a free-living antelope, the greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 294: R246-R254.

Hebert J, Lust A, Fuller A, Maloney SK , Mitchell D and Mitchell G (2008). Thermoregulation in pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana, Ord) in winter. Journal of Experimental Biology 211, 749-756.

Maloney SK (2008) Thermoregulation in ratites: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48:1293-1301

Beatty DT, Barnes A, Taylor E and Maloney SK . (2008). Do changes in feed intake or ambient temperature cause changes in cattle rumen temperature relative to core temperature. Journal of Thermal Biology 33: 12-19.

Beatty DT, Barnes A, Fleming PA, Taylor E and Maloney SK . (2008). The effect of fleece on core and rumen temperature in sheep. Journal of Thermal Biology. 33:437-443.

Blache D, Martin GB and Maloney SK (2008) Towards ethically improved animal experimentation in the study of animal reproduction. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 43(Supp 2):8-14.

Blache D, Maloney SK , Revell D. (2008). Use and limitations of alternative feed resources to sustain and improve reproductive performance in sheep and goats. Animal Feed Science and Technology 147: 140-157.

Maloney SK , Mitchell D, Mitchell G, and Fuller A. (2007) Absence of selective brain cooling in unrestrained baboons exposed to heat. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 292: R2059-R2067.

*Maloney SK , Mitchell D, and Blache D. (2007) The contribution of carotid rete variability to brain temperature variability in sheep in a thermoneutral environment. American Journal of Physiology Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 292: R1298-R1305.

Fuller A, Meyer LCR, Mitchell D and Maloney SK (2007). Dehydration increases the magnitude of selective brain cooling independently of core temperature in sheep. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 293: R438-R446.

Rubenson J, Heliams DB, Maloney SK , Withers PC, Lloyd DG, Fournier PA (2007) Reappraisal of the comparative cost of human locomotion using gait-specific allometric analyses. Journal of Experimental Biology. 210:3513-3524.

Dawson TJ, Blaney CE, McCarron HCK and Maloney SK (2007) Dehydration, with and without heat, in kangaroos from mesic and arid habitats: different thermal responses including varying patterns in heterothermy in the field and laboratory. Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 177:797-807.

Munn A, Dawson TJ and Maloney SK (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.

Lust A, Fuller A, Maloney SK , Mitchell D and Mitchell G. (2007) Thermoregulation in pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana, Ord) in the summer. Journal of Experimental Biology. 210:2444-2452.

Hetem RS, Maloney SK , Fuller A, R. MLC, and Mitchell D. (2007) Validation of a biotelemetric technique, using ambulatory miniature black globe thermometers, to quantify thermoregulatory behaviour in ungulates. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology 307A: 342-356.

Warnecke L, Withers PC, Schleucher E, and Maloney SK . (2007) Body temperature variation of free-ranging and captive southern brown bandicoots Isoodon obesulus (Marsupialia: Peramelidae). Journal of Thermal Biology 32: 72-77.

Beatty DT, Barnes A, Taplin R, McCarthy M & Maloney SK . (2007). Electrolyte supplementation of live export cattle to the Middle East. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 47: 119-124.

Smith JE, Barnes AL and Maloney SK (2006). A non surgical method allowing continuous core temperature monitoring in mares for an extended period of time, including during endurance exercise. Equine Veterinary Journal Supplement 36: 65-69.

Mitchell G, Maloney SK , Mitchell D, and Keegan DJ. (2006) The origin of mean arterial and jugular venous blood pressures in giraffes. Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 2515-2524.

Mitchell G, Fuller A, Maloney SK , Rump N, and Mitchell D. (2006) Guttural pouches, brain temperature, and exercise in horses. Biology Letters 2: 475-477.

Beatty DT, Barnes A, Taylor E, Pethick D, McCarthy M, and Maloney SK (2006). Physiological responses of Bos taurus and Bos indicus to prolonged, continuous heat and humidity. Journal of Animal Science, 84: 972-985.

Maloney SK, Shepherd KL, and Bakker AJ. (2005). Contractile physiology and response to temperature changes of the tunica dartos muscle of the rat. Pflugers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 451: 489-497.

Gray DA, Maloney SK and Kamerman PR. (2005). Lipopolysaccharide-induced fever in Pekin ducks is mediated by prostaglandins and nitric oxide and modulated by adrenocortical hormones. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 289: R1258-R1264.

Fuller A, Kamerman PR, Maloney SK, Matthee A, Mitchell G and Mitchell D. (2005). A year in the thermal life of a free-ranging herd of springbok Antidorcas marsupialis. Journal of Experimental Biology 208: 2855-2864.

Maloney SK, Moss G and Mitchell D. (2005). Orientation to solar radiation in black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou). Journal of Comparative Physiology A 191: 1065-1077.

Maloney SK, Moss G, Cartmell T and Mitchell D. (2005). Alteration in diel activity patterns as a thermoregulatory strategy in black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou). Journal of Comparative Physiology A 191: 1055-1064.

Fuller A, Maloney SK , Mitchell G, and Mitchell D. (2004). The eland and the oryx revisited: brain and body temperature in free-living animals. International Congress Series 1275:275-282

Dawson TJ and Maloney SK , 2004. Fur versus feathers: the different roles of red kangaroo fur and emu feathers in thermoregulation in the Australian arid zone. Australian Mammalogy 26:145-151.

Maloney SK , Fuller A, Kamerman PR, Mitchell G, and Mitchell D (2004) Variation in body temperature in free-ranging western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus). Australian Mammalogy 26:135-144.

Maloney SK , Bonomelli JM, and DeSouza J. (2003). Scrotal heating stimulates panting and reduces body temperature similarly in febrile and non-febrile rams (Ovis aries). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. 135:565-573.

Fuller A, Kamerman PR, Maloney SK , Mitchell G, and Mitchell D. (2003). Variability in brain and arterial blood temperatures in free-ranging ostriches in their natural habitat. Journal of Experimental Biology. 206:1171-1181.

Larcombe AN, Withers PC, and Maloney SK (2003). Thermoregulatory physiology of the Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes and the Brush Bronzewing Phaps elegans. Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 173:215-222.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Mammalian and avian physiology, especially thermal physiology
The American Physiological Society
The Australian Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry
The Physiological Society of Southern Africa
Unit coordination
PHYL2260 and IMED2206 Physiology of Adaptation and Stress
IMED1100 Normal Systems

Current external positions
Honorary Senior Research Associate, School of Physiology, The University of the Witwatersrand
Current projects
2009- : Sleep regulation in ostrich.
Collaborators: A Fuller, D Mitchell (S Africa), J Lesku, N Rattenborg (Germany)
Why animals sleep is not known. There are many theories from energy balance to memory consolidation. The team at the Max Planck have been taking a comparative approach to the problem, looking at how different species, with different life histories and ecologies, regulate their sleep. This work has involved fitting ostrich with state-of-the-art loggers to measure brain temperature and EEG when they are released into the wild, and on occasion, deprived of sleep. Data analysis is ongoing.

2007- : Adaptive thermogenesis in mammals
Collaborators: D Blache (UWA), I Clarke, B Henry (Monash)
It is obvious that there is huge individual variation in the way mammals (including humans) respond to overfeeding – some increase energy expenditure and gain a fraction of the mass seen in individuals that do not increase expenditure. Using sheep selected for temperament as a model, we are studying whether brown fat contributes to adaptive thermogenesis in adult sheep (with implications for adult human) and whether animal temperament influences the propensity to gain weight. Data analysis is ongoing.

2007- : Heat balance in humans – the effect of climate change on human activity
Collaborators: C Forbes
While several health impacts of climate change have been widely reported, there has been no discussion of how human physical activity will be impacted. We have used two different models of human heat balance to address the issue, one established and one developed by us. Using 10 years of meteorological data for Perth, we calculate the daily heat balance of people engaged in various activities, ranging from rest to physical labour. We assess for each day (i) whether sweating is required for heat balance (with impacts for hydration), (ii) whether heat balance is possible or whether heat will be stored, i.e. body temperature will increase, and (iii) whether dangerous heat storage likely to precipitate heat stroke will occur. We then run the same models adjusted for CSIRO predictions of temperature increase by 2030 and 2070. Our results provide evidence that whereas there are presently 3 or 4 days a year when outdoor activity is compromised by heat load, there will be up to 30 days per year if the predictions of CSIRO about likely temperature increases are accurate.

2003-2006: Brain temperature regulation in mammals: mechanisms and consequences.
Collaborators: D Mitchell (S Africa); D Blache (UWA)
Mammals detect increases in body temperature predominantly in the brain. Counterintuitively, many mammals selectively cool the brain during heat stress, apparently defeating the mechanism for inducing cooling responses. We are investigating this apparent anomaly, which we believe is concerned with optimising water use in hot conditions. The recent focus has been the mechanisms of brain temperature regulation and whether there has been convergent evolution in thermoregulatory strategies in the eutherian and marsupial lineages.

1999- : Thermal physiology and ecology of large African bovids
Collaborators: D Mitchell, A Fuller (S Africa)
What began in the late 1990’s as interesting research into the thermal physiology of African bovids has become topical as South Africa faces the possibility of its tourism industry being decimated as its iconic species become extinct due to climate change. Our research investigates the physiological and behavioural mechanisms that animals use to maintain homeothermy, the plasticity in these mechanisms, and the potential for heterothermy.

2005-2008: Thermal physiology of large mammals inhabiting a hyper-arid desert
Collaborators: D Mitchell, A Fuller, R Hetem (S Africa), M Shobrak (National Wildlife Research Centre, Saudi Arabia)
Knowledge of the way mammals cope with the extremes of aridity and heat can provide insight into the possible responses to selective pressures in other mammals as climate change ensues. We studied, for one year, the body and brain temperatures, activity patterns, and microclimate selection in Arabian Oryx and Sand Gazelle in the Saudi Arabian desert. Both species underwent periods of heterothermy but these periods were probably induced by dehydration and restricted energy intake. The activity pattern was quite plastic, providing the possibility that more mesic species can adapt by altering activity patterns.

1998- : The physiology of avian fever
Collaborators: D Gray (S Africa)
While the processes of immune activation and the acute phase response, including fever, are well characterised in mammals, very little is known about birds, despite the security threat posed by avian influenza. Our research has been aimed at characterising the acute phase response, and the mediators of that response, using the Pekin duck as our model. We have shown that the response to Gram-negative infection is unimodal and proportional to the challenge imposed, and that steroids mediate the response. The latter may help explain the very different responses of restrained and free-ranging birds to identical immune stimuli, a finding that has implications for the way research is conducted.

1999- : Thermoregulation and energy balance in marsupials
Collaborators: TJ Dawson (UNSW), A Munn (U Syd), P Withers (UWA)
Homeothermy probably preceded the split that gave rise to the marsupial and eutherian mammals, but there are some differences in the mechanisms used to achieve it. We have been studying those mechanisms in the laboratory and the patterns of body temperature in the wild. Studies of how kangaroos respond to heat load is important because they are nocturnal and so exposed to heat load during the resting phase of their nychthemeral rhythm, in contrast to most bovids that are diurnally active. We also study of the effect of coat physical properties on radiant heat load, leading to the conclusion that selection for different phenotypes of coat colour is a potential means of adaptation to climate change.

2003- : Scrotal thermoregulation and the physiology of the tunica dartos muscle
Collaborators: Bakker (UWA)
Elevated testicular temperature in scrotal mammals results in infertility. The action of the tunica dartos muscle of the scrotum was thought to be mediated via a central reflex involving afferents from the scrotum and sympathetic efferents to the muscle. We have shown that it is at least partially mediated by a local thermosensitivity of the muscle. Research continues into the mechanisms of this smooth muscle’s responses to temperature change, and the implications of scrotal temperature dysregulation for the endocrine function of the testes.

2001- : Homeothermy and brain temperature regulation in baboons
Collaborators: Mitchell, Fuller (Wits)
There is much debate concerning potential clinical implications of ‘selective brain cooling’ in humans, but it is impossible to make the measurements required to settle the debate. On this basis we studied the phenomenon in a species that shares the morphology of the cranial blood supply with humans. We showed conclusively that the primate cerebral anatomy cannot support selective brain cooling. As a side study, we also showed that radiant heat was not a significant stressor to the quadrupdal baboons, which helped to shed light on some theories regarding the evolution of hominin bipedalism.

2003- : Heat stress in cattle and sheep
Collaborators: A Barnes, D Pethik, D Beatty, C Stockman (Murdoch)
Taking production animals from temperate Australia across the equator during live export presents the animals with a degree of thermal stress. We have studied ways to ameliorate strain and improve welfare during live export. We began by characterising the physiology of chronic exposure to thermal stress, where acute stress had only been studied previously, and provided evidence that an electrolyte supplement could reduce the impact of thermal stress.

2006- : Using fever to detect disease transmission in rabbits
Collaborators Saunders, McLeod (Dept. Primary Industries, NSW), White (University of York), Hutchings (Scottish Agricultural College)
Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus has been extremely effective as a mechanism to control rabbit populations in some areas of Australia, but less effective in others. Large-scale differences in its effectiveness seem to be linked to climate. However, there are also more local-scale variations that cannot be explained by bioclimatic factors. Fever occurrence in rabbits, as detected by implanted temperature loggers and paired with proximity collars logging contact between individuals, might provide an assessment of disease transmission and these variations at different scales.

2004-2006: Giraffe hemodynamics
Collaborators: Mitchell G (Wyoming), Mitchell D (Wits)
An old and ongoing problem in comparative physiology is how giraffe have adapted to the physical stresses posed by their morphology, especially gravitational stress. Specifically, we were interested in how hydrostatic pressure is overcome to perfuse a brain two metres above the heart. Our specific hypothesis was whether a siphon system could operate between the jugular veins and the carotid arteries. We showed clearly that it could not.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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