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Mr Kieren Mitchell

Telephone +61 8 8313 8245
Position PhD Candidate
Fax +61 8 8313 4634
Building Darling Buidling
Floor/Room 2 05d
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Genetics & Evolution

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2012-Present   PhD in Evolutionary Biology

University of Adelaide

PhD thesis entitled "Using high-throughput DNA sequencing and molecular phylogenies to investigate the evolution and biogeography of the southern hemisphere fauna"

Supervised by Prof. Alan Cooper (ACAD, UoA), Dr. Michael Lee (SAM/UoA) and Dr. Matthew Phillips (QUT)


2008-2011   Bachelor of Science (Evolutionary Biology) - Honours

University of Adelaide

Research Interests

Kieren's research focuses on determining the relationships among different species and groups of animals as a framework for studying broad macroevolutionary processes. His studies encompass the estimation of speciation and extinction rates, biogeography, and the loss and gain of ecological and physiological traits in different animal groups through time.

Current projects involve the extraction and sequencing of DNA from species that became extinct in the last 50,000 years, providing access to new data concerning the mechanisms and drivers of evolutionary change.


Llamas B, Brotherton P, Mitchell KJ, Templeton JE, Thomson VA, Metcalf JL, Armstrong KN, Kasper M, Richards SM, Camens AB, Lee MS, Cooper A (2014) Late Pleistocene Australian marsupial DNA clarifies the affinities of extinct megafaunal kangaroos and wallabies. Molecular Biology and Evolution

Wood JR, Mitchell KJ, Scofield RP, Tennyson AJD, Fidler AE, Wilmshurst JM, Llamas B, Cooper A (2014) An extinct nestorid parrot (Aves, Psittaciformes, Nestoridae) from the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 172: 185-199

Mitchell KJ, Pratt RC, Watson LN, Gibb GC, Llamas B, Kasper M, Edson J, Hopwood B, Male D, Armstrong KN, Meyer M, Hofreiter M, Austin J, Donnellan SC, Lee MSY, Phillips MJ, Cooper A (2014) Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31: 2322-2330

Mitchell KJ, Llamas B, Soubrier J, Rawlence NJ, Worthy TH, Wood J, Lee MSY, Cooper A (2014) Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution. Science 344: 898-900

Mitchell KJ, Wood JR, Scofield RP, Llamas B, Cooper A (2014) Ancient mitochondrial genome reveals unsuspected taxonomic affinity of the extinct Chatham duck (Pachyanas chathamica) and resolves divergence times for New Zealand and sub-Antarctic brown teals. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 70: 420-428

Community Engagement

Kiwis less Aussie that once thought. (ABC 7pm news)

Rewriting the origin of New Zealand's kiwi bird ancestors. (The Conversation)

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck: it's probably a duck. But ancient DNA can do better than that. (ACAD blog)

Entry last updated: Sunday, 25 Jan 2015

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