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Nicole Phillips

Dr. Nicole Phillips

Assistant Professor


My research uses molecular approaches to answer questions that are relevant to the conservation and management of threatened, protected, or exploited marine species. I am interested in the genetic composition of populations over space and time, with research into temporal changes in genetic diversity, population structure, demographic history, and the impact of landscape features on marine populations. While most of the projects in my lab focus on sharks and rays, I also have experience working with marine and freshwater fishes, marine invertebrates, and cetaceans. Current research includes conservation genetics of sawfishes, population structure of cownose rays, and using environmental DNA as a tool to survey and assess habitat use in marine and freshwater species.

  • PHD - Murdoch University (2012)
  • BS - Murdoch University (2006)

BSC 345/L Marine Biology
BSC 404/L Tropical Ecology in Belize
BSC 422/522 Coastal and Marine Management
BSC 439/539 Marine Ecology

  • Swimming against the flow – Environmental DNA can detect bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) across a dynamic deltaic interface, Ecology and Evolution, 2020,
  • Genetic evidence supports a range extension of the Brazilian Cownose Ray, Rhinoptera brasiliensis, in the western North Atlantic, Journal of Fish Biology, 2021,
  • Environmental DNA tool for monitoring the status of the Critically Endangered Smalltooth Sawfish, Pristis pectinata, in the Western Atlantic, Conservation Genetics Resources, 2020,
  • Development of highly sensitive environmental DNA methods for the detection of Bull Shark, Carcharhinus leucas (Müller and Henle, 1839), using Droplet Digital™ PCR, Environmental DNA, 2020,
  • Review of Current Conservation Genetic Analyses of Northeast Pacific Sharks, Northeast Pacific Shark Biology, Research and Conservation, Advances in Marine Biology, 2017, 10.1016/bs.amb.2017.06.005
  • Genetic bottlenecks in Pristis sawfishes in northern Australian waters, ENDANGERED SPECIES RESEARCH, 2017, 10.3354/esr00815
  • Contrasting population structures of three Pristis sawfishes with different patterns of habitat use, Marine and Freshwater Research, 2017
  • English (Native or Bilingual)

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Areas of Expertise

Conservation genetics, environmental DNA, historic DNA, sharks & rays