Pete Smissen

PhD student, Terrestrial Environments

Pete Smissen holding a rodent
Pete Smissen holding a rodent during fieldwork.
Source: Pete Smissen

Pete's supervisors are Kevin C. Rowe at Museum Victoria and Belinda Appleton and Charles Robin at the University of Melbourne.


Pete completed a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His masters project focused on contemporary and historic patterns of molecular evolution in the lace monitor (Varanus varius). It was completed in conjunction with Museum Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Tim Jessop (University of Melbourne), Dr. Joanna Sumner and Dr. Jane Melville.

In early 2012 Pete began his PhD, interested in using the latest sequencing techniques, Next-generation Sequencing (NGS), to investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the Australian 'Old Endemic' rodents, specifically the conilurine group, as well as dating the major ecological / morphological transitions within the group. He aims to also test NGS techniques on extraction quality of DNA from various tissues from historic museum specimens.

Current activities:

Pete is currently a PhD student in the Genetics Department at the University of Melbourne. His project is examining;

  • the practical uses of NGS techniques for sequencing DNA from historic museum specimens
  • the use of NGS techniques to investigate the systematics and evolution of Australian conilurine rodents as part of the exon capture project (headed by Prof. Craig Moritz at the Australian National University)
  • the dating of major ecological and morphological transitions of the conilurines.

Last updated 6 August 2012

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