Postgraduate profiles: Full alphabetical listing


Our postgraduates carry out interesting and often vital research into all manner of subjects across all research areas. Some are interested in politics, others in law, epidemiology, seagrasses or information and communications technology.

To promote their efforts, and to encourage others who are inspired to make their own mark on the world, we present the work of our current and past postgraduate students here.


Kate Rick


Start date

Jun 2020

Submission date

Jun 2024

Kate Rick

Kate Rick profile photo


Understanding patterns of divergence in island mammals to improve conservation outcomes


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 rufous hare-wallaby (Lagorchestes hirsutus) 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 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.


  • Australian Research Council
  • University Postgraduate Award (UPA)
  • Australian Government Research Training Program Fees Offset Scholarship

Juvenile boodie at Matuwa, Goldfields Region WA