Nicki Mitchell

Dr, BSc Tas., PhD Adel.

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

    6009 Perth


  • 2216 Citations
  • 23 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


My research is interdisciplinary but has a strong grounding in physiological ecology. My current focus - and that of my research group - is to understand the capacity of threatened vertebrates to adapt to rapid environmental change, and to develop mechanistic models and decision tools that can inform conservation initiatives such as assisted colonisation. I also have long-term research programs on the impact of climate change on sex determination and survival in reptiles (especially sea turtles), and on the biology and conservation of terrestrial-breeding frog species, and how such species will respond to drying climates. 

My graduate students and postdocs study freshwater turtles, sea turtles, skinks, geckos, small brown (but extremely interesting) frogs, and a range of threatened mammals in Western Australia, including numbats. I bother turtle frogs in my spare time.

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I grew up in Hobart, completing a BSc Honours in Zoology at the University of Tasmania in 1996, and a PhD in Environmental Physiology at The University of Adelaide in 2001. For the next couple of years I was a research fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, funded by The Royal Society of London, and afterwards spent periods at Colorado State University, the Australian National University and La Trobe University before moving to UWA in 2005 on an ARC postdoctoral fellowship. I started working at UWA as a teaching and research academic in 2009.

Teaching overview

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Course coordinator (with Dr Pieter Poot) of the Conservation Biology major and MSc specialisation

Course coordinator (with Dr Jason Kennington) of the Wildlife Conservation double major and the Combined Bachelor and Master in Wildlife Conservation

Unit coordinator

BIOL2261 Conservation Biology

ANIM2209 Field Studies in Zoology

BIOL5502 Managing Threatened Species and Ecological Communities


ANIM5501 Evolution and Development

ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

BIOL5504 Sex in the Sea


ANIM3353 Wildlife Conservation and Management

ENVT5513 Decision Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation

External positions

Member, Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Department of the Environment and Energy

2015 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • Ecophysiology
  • Reproductive biology
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Climate change
  • Conservation biology
  • Assisted colonisation
  • Temperature-dependent sex determination
  • Population viability analysis
  • Marine turtles
  • Adaptation
  • Translocation
  • Threatened Species
  • Temperature
  • Desiccation

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Research Output

Geographic variation in adult and embryonic desiccation tolerance in a terrestrial-breeding frog

Rudin-Bitterli, T. S., Evans, J. P. & Mitchell, N. J., 1 Jun 2020, In : Evolution. 74, 6, p. 1186-1199

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Microclimate modelling of beach sand temperatures reveals high spatial and temporal variation at sea turtle rookeries

    Bentley, B., Kearney, M., Whiting, S. & Mitchell, N., 1 Feb 2020, In : Journal of Thermal Biology. 88, 102522.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • A full life cycle Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model for the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) fitted to data on embryonic development

    Stubbs, J. L., Mitchell, N., Marn, N., Vanderklift, M., Pillans, R. & Augustine, S., Jan 2019, In : Journal of Sea Research. 143, p. 78-88

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

    A genome-wide search for local adaptation in a terrestrial-breeding frog reveals vulnerability to climate change

    Cummins, D., Kennington, W. J., Rudin-Bitterli, T. & Mitchell, N. J., Sep 2019, In : Global Change Biology. 25, 9, p. 3151-3162 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Data for Microclimate modelling of beach sand temperatures reveals high spatial and temporal variation at sea turtle rookeries

    Bentley, B. (Creator), Kearney, M. (Creator), Whiting, S. (Creator) & Mitchell, N. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 21 Jan 2020





    • 1 HEA Fellowship

    Higher Education Academy (External organisation)

    Nicki Mitchell (Director)


    Activity: MembershipsHEA Fellowship

    Press / Media

    World Sea Turtle Day

    Nicki Mitchell


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media