Katherine Hill

Miss Katherine Hill

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

PhD Candidate

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences


I am a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide. My research focuses on adapting and creating forensic technologies to trace the origins of Australian animals found in illegal wildlife trade, and conversely the origins of exotic animals found at-large in Australia to assist biosecurity efforts.

A wide variety of animals are transported worldwide through the wildlife trade, causing significant changes to the global environment by introducing exotic species into new environments, or over-extracting animals from their native environments. The pet trade facilitates the movements of live animals worldwide, but currently there is no way of determining the true origin of these animals. The pet trade is an extremely complex and lucrative black market, where Australian animals are illegally harvested from the wild and traded overseas, while new pests are illegally imported and either escape captivity or are intentionally released into wild environments, which threaten biosecurity, primary industries and social assets.

The aim of my research is to assist biosecurity agencies and decision-makers to take early preventative action to protect Australia’s unique wildlife and economy by creating accessible and easy-to-use wildlife forensic tools to determine the origins of live animals and animal products. I will be adapting and designing new forensic techniques to determine the source of illegally traded animals to gain an insight on the sources and distributions of animals, with a focus on species in the pet trade. This includes chemical approaches such as stable isotopes and trace elements.

A wide variety of animals are transported worldwide through the wildlife trade, causing significant changes to the global environment by introducing exotic species into new environments, or over-extracting animals from their native environments. The pet trade facilitates the movements of live animals worldwide, but currently there is no way of determining the true origin of these animals. The pet trade is an extremely complex and lucrative black market, where Australian animals are illegally harvested from the wild and traded overseas, while new pests are illegally imported and either escape captivity or are intentionally released into wild environments, which threaten biosecurity, primary industries and social assets.

The aim of my research is to assist biosecurity agencies and decision-makers to take early preventative action to protect Australia’s unique wildlife and economy by creating accessible and easy-to-use wildlife forensic tools to determine the origins of live animals and animal products. I will be adapting and designing new forensic techniques to determine the source of illegally traded animals to gain an insight on the sources and distributions of animals, with a focus on species in the pet trade. 

  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Phone: 83132546
  • Email: katherine.hill@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham, floor G
  • Room: G 24B
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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