Project Officer, Herpetology
Dr. Katie Smith completed her honours and PhD research at Museum Victoria. Her research is focussed on speciation and hybridisation primarily across various species of reptiles and amphibians. She is currently working on a project that aims to revise the taxonomy of earless dragons.
Katie Smith in the field
Source: Museum Victoria
Katie completed a Bachelor of Science with honours at The University of Melbourne in 2006. Her research investigated cryptic speciation in the agamid lizards, Diporiphora magna and D. bilineata using a combination of genetic, morphological and ecological data.
In 2011, Katie completed a PhD at Museum Victoria in which she studied a hybrid zone that forms between the south-eastern Australian tree frogs, Litoria ewingi and L. paraewingi. Katie utilised historic data that was collected approximately 40 years prior, which included recordings of the male advertisement call and genetic data obtained from museum specimens. She compared this to modern genetic and acoustic data to provide a temporal perspective of patterns of hybridisation between these two species through changing ecological conditions.
As the Victorian bushfires in 2009 directly impacted the area of the hybrid zone that Katie had been studying, in the last two years of her PhD, Katie also conducted a post-fire study into changes on the hybrid zone following a natural disturbance event.
Since completing her PhD, Katie has worked on a number of projects in the Sciences Department at Museum Victoria. This has included updating an online database of Australian fish, and a number of other population genetic and phylogeographic projects in the Museum Victoria DNA laboratory on various species of reptiles and amphibians.
Katie is currently working on a project that aims to revise the taxonomy of the earless dragons (Tympanocryptis). She is collecting morphological and genetic data to better understand the species group.
Katie also continues her research into speciation and hybridisation among reptiles and amphibians, using a range of genetic, morphological, acoustic and ecological data.
Last updated 15 January 2013