Nicki Mitchell

Dr, BSc Tas., PhD Adel.

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

    6009 Perth


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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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.

LinkedInTwitter, Google ScholarScopusResearchGate, Academia, STEM Women, ORCiD


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

Co-Chair (with Patrick Finnegan) School of Biological Sciences Education Committee

Course coordinator (with Dr Jason Kennington) of the Wildlife Conservation extended 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


ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity

BIOL5504 Sex in the Sea


ANIM3353 Wildlife Conservation and Management

ENVT5513 Decision Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation

Current projects

Below are the research topics of the current graduate and honours students in my lab


Emily Hoffmann: Improving conservation outcomes for the Critically Endangered white-bellied frog Geocrinia alba: an isolated declining endemic

Jon-Paul Emery: Evaluating conservation management options for two Extinct in the Wild reptiles on Christmas Island

Sian Thorn: The population and spatial ecology of the numbat in the Upper Warren, Western Australia

Malindi Gammon: Predicting the vulnerability of flatback turtle rookeries in the North West Shelf to a changing climate

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

Kate Rick: Understanding 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


Nick Rodriguez: Hatching stimuli and communication in turtle embryos

M Biol Sci

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


Ryan Ellis: Integrated taxonomic assessment of species diversity in the myobatrachid Crawling Toadlet Pseudophryne guentheri


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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