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Dr. Peter Minchin

Department: Biological Sciences

How long have you been at SIUE? Since August 2004

What do you like most about SIUE? SIUE campus has a lot of natural areas where students can do research. "It's an outdoor laboratory." It has good quality ecosystems of forest and prairie. Not many universities are lucky enough to have this.

Areas of Research Interest: Study of how organisms interact with each other and with their environments.

Main research area is community ecology - what determines the distributions and abundances of species and which species occur together.

Application of research in conservation and restoration of natural areas

Also interested in the way mathematics is used within ecology

Creates new methods to answer ecological questions

Future project - textbook on methods for analyzing communities

Country of Origin: Australia - Born and raised in Hobart, Tasmania.

Language(s) spoken other than English: Speaks Spanish as a hobby. Reads in Spanish

How long have you been in the US? Since 1998

What do you find to be the biggest difference between the US and your home country?

Cultures are quite different. It's only apparent when you've lived somewhere.

Language - differences in spelling, grammar and vocabulary. For example, technical terms in Australia: a "sidewalk" is called a "footpath," the hood of the car is called a "bonnet," the trunk is called a "boot," parts of a house have different names as well

Spelling is different, e.g., color versus colour

Measurements are different. Australia uses the metric system

Interaction between people and the government.

Australians are more accepting of the need for taxation and less suspicious of their own government

Voting is different. In Australia if you don't vote, you are fined.

Laws - more enforced in Australia

Police will set up road blocks for breathalyzer tests even during the day

Speed cameras contracted out by the police. If you speed, you will be caught and fined.

Australia is more heavily urbanized contrary to the image portrayed by Crocodile Dundee

"It would be good for students to realize the world is really different."

Interesting Fact:

My wife is also an ecologist!

I like to cook different foods - Asian food. My mother was Greek so I learned Mediterranean style cooking

I love fine wine - my wife and I like to enjoy a glass of wine every now and then.

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