Nicki Mitchell

Associate Professor, Deputy Director, Oceans Institute

  • The University of Western Australia (M470), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


My research is interdisciplinary and 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 interesting) frogs, and a range of threatened marsupials. I bother turtle frogs in my spare time.

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I grew up in Hobart, completing a BSc with 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.

Current projects

Below are the research areas of current members of my lab


Emily Hoffmann: Biodiversity of Western Australian peatlands

Sami Al Khatib: Dynamic thermal modelling of sea turtle nests

Project coordinator

Holly Winkle: Protecting peatland ecosystems and addressing threats in SW Australia


Bethany NordstromAssisted colonisation of the Western Swamp Turtle: the role of energy requirements in translocation decisions

Kate RickUnderstanding patterns of phenotypic and genetic divergence in island mammals to improve conservation outcomes

Natasha Harrison: Quantifying the loss of antipredator traits in havened mammal populations and their relationship with population density and resource competition

Jarrod SopniewskiProtecting the future of frogs: developing methods to safeguard Australian frog diversity

Anna Ortega: Exploration of management interventions to prevent the extirpation of the Eastern Pacific leatherback population

Master of Science

Lauren Heddle: Manipulation of metabolic heat in sea turtle nests

Master of Biological Science

Ha Hoang: Performance and growth of freshwater turtles following semi-natural and artificial incubation

Nikita Binetti: Understanding the risks of fire and predation on aestivating turtles

Master of Marine Biology

Jessica Takeda: Can solar powered cameras capture flatback turtle nesting behaviours and hatchling predation on Barrow Island? 

Teaching overview

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Unit coordinator

BIOL5502 Managing Threatened Species and Ecological Communities


ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

BIOL5504 Sex in the Sea

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 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

External positions

Lead Council, The Biodiversity Council

7 Dec 2022 → …

Member, Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (Australia)

Jun 201530 Nov 2023

Research expertise keywords

  • Ecophysiology
  • Reproductive biology
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Conservation biology
  • Assisted colonisation
  • Temperature-dependent sex determination
  • Population viability analysis
  • Sea turtles
  • Mammals
  • Translocation
  • Threatened Species
  • Temperature
  • Desiccation
  • Environmental policy
  • Decision tools
  • Adaptive management
  • Assisted migration


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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