Kate Rick

Miss, Doctor of Philosophy Student

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Personal profile


Summary of my research

Many Australian mammals have become restricted to small populations on offshore islands or remnant fragments which may harbor unique genetic and phenotypic variation. Conservation efforts rely on robust taxonomy, which may be confounded by varying levels of divergence between populations and discrepancies on how taxonomic units are defined. The evolutionary mechanisms driving divergence are also often unclear.

My project will focus on three threatened Australian mammals: the boodie (Bettongia lesueur), the golden bandicoot (Isoodon auratus) and the dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis). I aim to combine morphometric analyses with powerful genomic approaches to gain a better understanding of evolutionary processes and how this can inform species taxonomy and conservation.

Why my research is important

The loss of biodiversity is one of the most severe human-induced global environmental problems and will likely have detrimental cascading effects on ecosystem functioning and services critical to sustaining civilization. With 21% of Australian endemic land mammals at risk of extinction, it is vital to implement effective management strategies.

My research will assist in guiding current and future fauna restoration projects by improving our understanding of the dynamics of population genetics, morphology, local adaptation and evolution. I will also inform how such information can be applied to best practice management to improve conservation of mammals at risk of extinction.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Zoology, Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours), Population genomics of the burrowing bettong (Bettongia lesueur): A case study on the implications of genetic mixing, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 14 Dec 2018

Zoology and Genetics, Bachelor of Science, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 17 Mar 2018

External positions

Research Associate, Western Australian Museum

2020 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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