Karen Roberts

Collection Manager, Vertebrates

Karen Roberts
Karen Roberts working in the field
Source: Karen Roberts

Dr Karen Roberts manages the vertebrate collections (Mammalogy, Ornithology, Herpetology), and researches the evolution and morphology of marsupials.


Karen has a long-held interest in Australia's unique native fauna and how they evolved. This led to research on Australian fossil mammals and she completed a PhD in 2008 studying the early evolution of ringtail possums (Pseudocheiridae) with supervisors Professor Michael Archer and Dr Sue Hand. She subsequently spent 12 months working at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. During this time, she was involved in a range of collection-based projects across the museum including fossil preparation and digitisation of type plant specimens. This experience has influenced her view of natural science collections and their roles in research, education and history.

Karen joined Museum Victoria in February 2010, working in Geosciences and Marine Invertebrates. She has also worked within the Strategic Collection Management section working across all collection areas at the museum as Project Manager for Museum Victoria's most recent collection and library valuation. Since 2013, Karen holds the position of Collection Manager, Vertebrates, working across Mammalogy, Ornithology and Herpetology

Current activities:

Karen helps manage, maintain and curate the collections, facilitates loans to researchers and other museums, assists with field work, prepares and accessions specimens to the collections, manages data, and provides expertise on mammals to help with public enquiries, exhibitions and other outreach.

She is also an Honorary Associate Lecturer with the University of New South Wales and continues her research on fossil ringtail possums from northwest Queensland. This includes systematic research with descriptions of new species and genera, as well as investigating the functional morphology of skulls and teeth.