Elizabeth Sinclair

Dr, BSc ANU, PhD W.Aust

  • The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 692 Citations
  • 14 h-Index
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Personal profile


Liz is interested in using molecular approaches to address issues in evolutionary biology and conservation including the application of genetic data for conservation and management of threatened and endangered species, comparative phylogeography, and molecular systematics. She has been involved in conservation genetics research in both terrestrial and marine systems, including a range of vertebrate, invertebrate and plants species. This gives her a unique perspective in understanding connectivity and the importance of conserving individual species and ecosystems.

Since 2008, she has been researching patterns of genetic diversity and connectivity at different spatial scales in temperate Australian seagrasses (Posidonia spp.), from clonal diversity, mating systems, population genetics, long distance dispersal and recruitment. Genetic patterns are interpreted using a multidisciplinary approach – oceanography, regional hydrodynamic spatial modeling, and life history traits (pollen and seed dispersal and recruitment). This research contributes to an understanding of the processes impacting on marine connectivity across the Australian continental shelf ecosystems and makes an important contribution to the development of benthic biodiversity conservation planning and restoration practices.

Funding overview

2019-2021 NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Kendrick, Statton & Sinclair. Assisting restoration of ecosystem engineers through seed-based and shoot-based programs in the Shark Bay WHS.

2018-2021 ARC Discovery grant GA Kendrick et al. Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events.

2018-2021 NSW Environment Trust A. Verges et al. Healing Old wounds: restoring Posidonia australisis boat mooring scars.

2013-2016 ARC Linkage grant GA Kendrick et al. Ecological and genetic connectivity in seagrasses: the role of sexual reproduction, dispersal and recruitment on meadow restoration.

2010-2013 ARC Linkage grant GA Kendrick et al. Establishing genetic guidelines for the effective ecological restoration of seagrass meadows.

2008-2010 Cockburn Cement and Department of State Development, WA

2008 Dept. of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra

Roles and responsibilities

AMSA WA General board member

United Nations Pool of Experts

Current projects

Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events

Healing Old wounds: restoring Posidonia australisis boat mooring scars

Characterising adaptive genetic diversity in temperate seagrasses in Shark Bay

Teaching overview

BIOL5504 'Sex in the Sea'

2018 - Jane Edgeloe BGPA Summer Scholarship Student and Masters University of Western Australia Topic: Genetic diversity in Posdonia australis across an environmental gradient in Shark Bay World Heritage site, Western Australia. Co-supervisors: Prof Jaqui Batley, Dr Janet Anthony

2018 - Ankje Frouws PhD Edith Cowan University, external supervisor, Topic: Genetic diversity and resilience of seagrass species in the Pilbara region and in the Ningaloo and the Shark Bay World Heritage sites of Western Australia. Co-supervisors: Dr Kathryn McMahon, Prof Paul Lavery

2018 - Mitchell Booth PhD University of Western Australia Topic: Seagrass adaptation and acclimation: gene expression responses to extreme climatic events. Co-supervisors: Dr Martin Breed, Prof Gary Kendrick

2016 - Henry Lambert BGPA Summer Scholarship Student

2011 - 2014 Suzy Evans PhD University of New South Wales Topic: Genetic diversity and trophic interactions in seagrass beds. Co-supervisors: Dr Adriana Verges, Dr Alistair Poore, Dr Peter Steinberg

2010 - 2014 Alison Ritchie PhD University of Western Australia Topic: A genetic assessment of ecological restoration success. Co-supervisors: Dr Siegy Krauss, Dr Paul Nevill, Prof Kingsley Dixon

2012 Ilena Gecan Honours University of Western Australia Topic: Realized pollen dispersal in the seagrass Posidonia australis. Co-supervisors: Dr Siegy Krauss, Prof Gary Kendrick

Education/Academic qualification

Zoology, PhD, The University of Western Australia

External positions

Research Scientist, Kings Park and Botanic Gardens


  • Environmental
  • Oceans
  • Bioinformatics
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Population genetics
  • Phylogeography
  • Conservation
  • Marine restoration
  • Seagrass genetics
  • Genomics
  • Gene expression

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Elizabeth Sinclair is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Posidoniaceae Agriculture & Biology
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Caladenia Agriculture & Biology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1995 2019

A systematic review of how multiple stressors from an extreme event drove ecosystem-wide loss of resilience in an iconic seagrass community

Kendrick, G. A., Nowicki, R., Olsen, Y. S., Strydom, S., Fraser, M. W., Sinclair, E. A., Statton, J., Hovey, R. K., Thomson, J. A., Burkholder, D., McMahon, K. M., Kilminster, K., Hetzel, Y., Fourqurean, J. W., Heithaus, M. R. & Orth, R. J., 1 Jan 2019, In : Frontiers in Marine Science. 6, JUL, 455.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
systematic review
extreme event

First report of hybridization in the seagrass genus Posidonia (Posidoniaceae)

Sinclair, E. A., Cambridge, M. L. & Kendrick, G. A., 1 Jun 2019, In : Aquatic Botany. 156, p. 10-13 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

subtidal environment

Threatened plant translocation case study: Posidonia australis (Strapweed), Posidoniaceae

Ferretto, G., Glasby, T., Housefield, G., Poore, A. G. B., Statton, J., Sinclair, E., Kendrick, G. & Verges, A., 2019, Australasian Plant Conservation, 28, p. 24-26 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)
426 Downloads (Pure)

Wide outcrossing provides functional connectivity for new and old Banksia populations within a fragmented landscape

Ritchie, A. L., Dyer, R. J., Nevill, P. G., Sinclair, E. A. & Krauss, S. L., May 2019, In : Oecologia. 190, 1, p. 255-268 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Assessing the effect of genetic diversity on the early establishment of the threatened seagrass Posidonia australis using a reciprocal-transplant experiment

Evans, S. M., Sinclair, E. A., Poore, A. G. B., Bain, K. F. & Verges, A., May 2018, In : Restoration Ecology. 26, 3, p. 570-580 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

local adaptation
genetic variation
survival rate

Projects 2019 2020