Areas of Research
Rats in Agriculture
Australasian mammal systematics
Australasian frog systematics
Bats of New Guinea
Welcome to Professor Steve Donnellan's laboratory group at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum. The core focus of our research group is the use of genetic and genomic data to answer ecological and evolutionary questions.
The Donnellan Lab Group includes Postdoctoral Researchers, PhD students and Honours students working on terrestrial and marine biology. If you are interested in working with us please contact Steve directly to discuss opportunities that may be available.
08 8313 4855
0405 624 055
North Terrace campus
University of Adelaide
Room 210B Darling Building
Adelaide, South Australia
Steve and Vicki are investigating phylogeographic patterns in echidna claw and coat morphology, which required going through the South Australian Museum collections. They combed through over 50 samples to examine the size of hind claws and coat spininess/colouration.
Kyle Armstrong has just returned from Cambodia where he gave a workshop on the acoustic identification of bats. Bats can be identified from their echolocation call signatures, but currently very little is known about the echolocation calls of Cambodian bats - i.e. which squeaks are associated with what species. Kyle passed on his system used for characterising calls in completely undocumented acoustic realms, which was developed and used in Kyle's many projects in Papua New Guinea over the past decade. The workshop is part of a large effort based at Duke University headed by Professor Gavin Smith. Kyle looks forward to further technical contributions in the 'Cambatrat' project.
Kyle Armstrong and Dr Justin Welbergen of Western Sydney University published an article in The Conversation highlighting the value of Australia's native species of bat and the value of balanced media reporting on zoonotic disease risk.
We warmly welcome Associate Professor Jun Sato and his family to Australia. Dr Sato holds a position at Fukuyama University, in Hiroshima Prefecture Japan. He joins us for a one-year sabbatical to contribute his excellent experience to our projects, and undertake his own research using next-generation DNA sequencing. He will work with Kyle as part of the 'Bats' phylogenomics and conservation genomics parts of the Oz Mammals Genomes Project supported by Bioplatforms Australia.
We (Steve Donnellan and Kyle Armstrong) were thrilled recently to hear of our successful application for a Citizen Science grant - "The Mega Murray Darling Microbat Project". This is a partnership between the South Australian Museum, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management, Mid Murray Landcare SA and the University of South Australia. The project will rely on the energy and enthusiasm of citizen scientists in the South Australian part of the Murray Darling Basin to record bat echolocation calls with the latest ultrasonic recording tech. The data will be transformed into outcomes for biodiversity and habitat management at local scales through government policy change, landholder participation and improved state-based conservation assessments. Further details here.
We are pleased and excited to welcome Sigit Wiantoro as a new PhD candidate in our group. Sigit holds a research position at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, (Indonesian Institute of Sciences; LIPI). He is studying the systematics of Australasian and South East Asian bent-winged bats (Miniopterus) with Dr Kyle Armstrong, Prof Steve Donnellan and AProf Jeremy Austin, supported by a Hermon Slade grant to Dr Armstrong, Dr Ken Aplin and Dr Bastien Llamas. See Sigit's researcher profile for a summary of his extensive research experience in Indonesian on a range of mammals, and karst conservation. It's going to be a great 3 years!
Dr Kyle Armstrong led the discussion session 'Ultrasonic applications in ecology' at the Australasian Ecoacoustics Workshop 2017 in Brisbane. This was the first meeting of the Australasian Chapter of Ecoacoustics, and a great time was had by all - thanks to all the organisers and sponsors.
Congratulations to Dr Vicki Thomson, who has been awarded an Australian-India Strategic Research Fund Early Career Fellowship to visit the lab of Uma Ramakrishnan at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bangalore, India. Vicki will be spending 3 months in Uma's lab in Bangalore to work on the phylogeography of the black rat species complex, which is an important biosecurity threat.
Congratulations to Dr Vicki Thomson, who is the lead CI of a newly funded ARC Linkage project investigating variation in venom of different populations of Tiger Snake in response to prey type. The project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Museum, and Museum Victoria.
Dr Vicki Thomson attended a snake handling course, where she learnt how to interact with and safely wrangle venomous tiger snakes for her anticipated field work. Her interests lie in investigating the epigenetic mechanisms involved in rapid adaptation to climate change, where the tiger snake is an ideal model organism.