Phill Cassey

Phill Cassey

Associate Professor

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Phill Cassey is Head of the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, and leads the Invasion Science & Wildlife Ecology Group at The University of Adelaide. As a global change biologist, he brings critical analytical techniques to the study of applied ecology, wildlife conservation, and biosecurity risk management; areas characterised by complexity and uncertainty.

Phill is a leading global change and invasive species biologist. He has published extensively (>300 papers) on the conservation, transport and trade in animal species. Phill leads a research intensive laboratory at the University of Adelaide, and is Head of the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. He has taught extensively in ecological research and research methods, and from 2016-2021 he was the coordinator for the University of Adelaide’s Bachelor of Science Advanced program. Phill has been awarded a large number of competitive international research project and training grants (>AU$10M). He is an experienced scientific communicator and regularly engages with stakeholders, media, and scientific forums.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2021 - ongoing Head, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Adelaide
    2015 - ongoing Reader, Environmental Biosecurity University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2014 ARC Future Fellow University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2010 RCUK Roberts Fellowship University of Birmingham
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2013 Award Mid-career Research Excellence Award University of Adelaide
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    French Can understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2002 Griffith University Australia PhD
    1997 University of Auckland New Zealand MSc
    1994 University of Auckland New Zealand BSc
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    2006 - 2007 Postdoctoral Researcher Rutgers University, New Brunswick United States
    2004 - 2006 Leverhulme Research Felowship University of Birmingham, Birmingham United Kingdom
    2002 - 2004 CNRS Research Fellowship École Normale Supérieure, Paris France
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    1997 ATCL University College London United Kingdom
  • Research Interests

Research Funding

Since completing my PhD I have been awarded a large number of competitive international research project and training grants (25+ grants totaling more than AU$10M). Major external grant funding (>AU$100k) that has been successfully awarded since commencing at University of Adelaide (2010) is listed below. In addition, I have received State Government (South Australia, Victoria) and University of Adelaide competitive grant and contract support (c. AU$400k).

Date Project/No. Investigators Funding Body
2018-2022 Understanding and intervening in illegal trade in non-native species Phill Cassey; Joshua Ross; Lewis Mitchell; Jeremy Austin; Jonathan Tyler; Peter Caley; David Ramsey; Lindell Andrews; Rebecca Johnson Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
2015-2018 The phylogenetics of invasions Tim Blackburn; Phill Cassey; Gavin Thomas Leverhulme Trust
2014-2016 Transport risk pathways for emerging invasive species Phill Cassey; Joshua Ross; John Drake Australian Research Council: Discovery
2012-2014 Meta-modelling of ecological, evolutionary and climatic systems dynamics Barry Brook; Corey Bradshaw; Phill Cassey; Tom Wigley; Robert Lacy Australian Research Council: Discovery
2012-2014 An integrated tool for informing pest management: modelling range shifts for an invasive vertebrate in response to climate change Damien Fordham; Phill Cassey; Barry Brook; Gregory Mutze Australian Research Council: Linkage
2010-2017 Exotic vertebrate risk analysis framework Phill Cassey; Dean Anderson Invasive Animals CRC
2009-2012 The evolution of species traits and spread during biological invasions Phill Cassey Australian Research Council: Future Fellowship

Phill is the Faculty of Sciences Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Science Advanced degree. The BSc (Advanced) is an innovative vocational program for high-achieving students who wish to further develop their knowledge and understanding of interdisciplinary science. The program has a strong emphasis on research skill development, and ethical best-practice scientific conduct. The program provides students with the early opportunity to participate in the academic and research culture of the discipline areas they are most interested in, through small group mentoring and specialized laboratory experiences.

In addition, Phill lectures for the 2nd and 3rd year BSc courses in the Ecology Major (Ecology II and Concepts in Ecology III). Phill’s teaching in Ecology includes practical statistical workshops, and both domestic and international field courses.

Current Teaching Schedule

ENV BIOL 2502 - Ecology II & ENV BIOL 2005 - Ecology for Engineers II

Ecology II introduces the core principles of modern ecology, provides basic skills for the conduction of field studies, and fosters the development of the skills needed for the scientific analysis of ecological systems.

ENV BIOL 3121 - Concepts in Ecology III

Ecology III addresses advanced ecological concepts across populations, communities and ecosystems, and examines various approaches to their studies, including experiments and models. It provides both an understanding of theoretical ecology as well as a foundation for ecological applications.

waders  tracking  snake  crab

SCIENCE 1300 - Principles & Practice of Research (Advanced) I

Science 1300 introduces students to the core principles of scientific research and research environments. It focuses on building a robust understanding of ethical scientific practices and includes interdisciplinary collaboration, group investigation, and best-practice data management.

SCIENCE 2300 - Principles & Practice of Research (Advanced) II

Science 2300 immerses students into contemporary programs of research through engagement with a variety of different academic researchers, each of whom will present a current problem or project from their own research. Students will emerge with a clearer understanding of the roles various people play in scientific discovery and some of the career paths a degree in science can make possible.

SCIENCE 3100 - Principles & Practice of Research (Advanced) III

Science 3100 is exposes students to the university research environment and provides them an opportunity to participate in the process of scientific research. The primary component of this course is the laboratory placement, in which students are associated with an active research group in the Faculty, providing them with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in one or more scientific projects.

SCIENCE 3500 - Science International Study Tour

Science 3500 consists of an intensive overseas study tour introducing science students to international culture and society. The ‘Deep Water Deep Jungle’ course immerses students in a 13 night experience observing ecology and animal trafficking in South Eastern Asia. This intensive cultural experience will enable students to directly gain knowledge and understanding of the South East Asian environmental issues and on-ground conservation efforts.

studytour1

  studytour2  studytour3

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Principal Supervisor Investigating the online trade in plants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jacob Avey Maher
    2021 Principal Supervisor Population ecology of a native sub-aquatic rodent Hydromys chrysogaster in an urban waterway Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Eilish Mary Thomas
    2021 Principal Supervisor Developing trace DNA detection methods for empty enclosures used in the illegal wildlife trade. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Nathan Deliveyne
    2021 Co-Supervisor Brushtail possum health and demography in response to changing resource conditions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Tara Jane McKenzie
    2021 Principal Supervisor Drivers of the live pet trade in Australian reptiles Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Sebastian Chekunov
    2019 Principal Supervisor Forensic techniques for tracing wildlife in illegal trade Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Katherine Georgia Weston Hill
    2019 Co-Supervisor Project title: Maximising mammal and carbon conservation co-benefits in the highly fragmented landscape of Johor, Peninsular Malaysia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Meryl Tze Yin Theng
    2016 Principal Supervisor Wildlife Trafficking and Crime in Southeast Asia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Freyja Watters
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Sustainable coffee and consumer behaviour change Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Matthew Jared Bowie
    2018 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Analysing Dynamics of the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Adam Toomes
    2017 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Optimal Wildlife Smuggling Interdiction Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Rachel Su Yi McLean
    2017 - 2020 Co-Supervisor CRISPR Technology Development: Gene Drives and Genome Editing Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Chandran Pfitzner
    2016 - 2020 Principal Supervisor The Global Trade in Pangolin Species from Asia and Africa Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Sarah Heinrich
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Integrated analysis of the movement and ecology of wild dingoes in the arid zone Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jack Tatler
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Disease ecology of low pathogenic avian influenza in the Australian environment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Antonia Eleanor Dalziel
    2013 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Co-Evolution of Rabbits and the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) in Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Amy Rebecca Iannella
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Alien Vertebrate Risk Assessment and Invasion Pathway Modelling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Pablo Garcia Diaz
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2019 Co-Supervisor What Makes a Dingo? Investigating the Variation in the Dingoes’ Skeletal Morphology The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Science with Honours in Ecology and Environmental Science Honours Full Time Aurelie Kanishka
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Advisory Board Member New Zealand's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge New Zealand
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2015 - ongoing Editor Biological Invasions United States
    2014 - ongoing Editor Auk United States
    2007 - 2016 Editor Australian Journal of Zoology Australia
  • Position: Associate Professor
  • Phone: 83134042
  • Email: phill.cassey@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham, floor 1
  • Org Unit: School of Biological Sciences

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