UNIVERSITY OF THE SUNSHINE COAST
Research Field: Evolutionary Biology
My research helps threatened and protected native Australian animals impacted by environmental
For example, I co-founded Detection Dogs for Conservation at USC. Our team gives rescue dogs a job
by using them to ‘sniff-out’ koalas and other hard-to-find animals. We train them to locate live
animals and scats (poo) which allows us find out where animals move when feeding and looking for
mates. We work closely with government, and international partners such as the International Fund
for Animal Welfare and WWF to preserve vulnerable koala populations and their habitat.
I also lead several projects that track individual animals and their offspring across generations to
look at the impact of environmental change. For example, my work in Shark Bay Western Australia,
(under a study which has tracked the same dolphin families for 30+ years), has shed light on the
impacts of tourism practices, like hand-feeding. My decade-long study of lizards in the middle of
Brisbane’s Central Business District has shown that city-dwelling lizards have evolved in just 30
generations, possibly to account for the urban landscape.