conservation genetics gene flow mammals mating systems phylogenetics phylogeography wildlife genetics

Email Kym

+61 8 9219 9086

+61 8 9334 0327
Street Address
17 Dick Perry Avenue, Technology Park, Western Precinct, Kensington WA 6151, Australia
Postal Address
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983, Australia


I am currently a Research Scientist in Fauna Conservation in the Science Division of Dept of Parks and Wildlife. My research focuses primarily on the conservation genetics of threatened and priority-listed West Australian mammal species, including genetic assessment of animal translocations, resolution of taxonomic issues to support conservation listings and understanding the population genetics of varied fauna to support conservation planning and decision-making. I also have a broad background in research on the ecological genetics of a range of temperate and tropical plant species. 


- Conservation genetics of threatened plants and animals

- Plant-animal interactions (seed dispersal, pollen dispersal)

- Mating systems and gene flow analysis 

Brief CV

Academic qualifications:

2007 Doctor of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, SA - "A survey of the reproductive ecology and patterns of pollen-mediated gene flow in Eucalyptus camaldulensis and E. leucoxylon paddock trees"

1998 Bachelor of Science Honours, University of Adelaide, SA - "Enhanced transport of nutrients through soil cores with the addition of organic amendments"

1997 Bachelor of Science, University of Adelaide, SA - Majors in Botany and Zoology


Positions held:

Mar 2012 - Current: Research Scientist, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Government of Western Australia, WA

Mar 2010 - Feb 2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA

Feb 2008 - Mar 2010: Research Fellow, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide/Department for Environment and Heritage, SA Government, Adelaide, SA

Mar 2006 - Jul 2007: Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 

Jan 2004 - Jan 2006: Research Assistant, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW

Sept 2001 - Dec 2002: Research Scientist, Evolutionary Biology Unit, South Australian Museum, SA


Adjunct Positions:

Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, WA


Membership of Professional Societies:


Society for Ecological Restoration


1. Genetic assessment for conservation of rare and threatened fauna

2. Genetic approaches for evaluating the contribution of the reserve system to fauna conservation


Honors-level research projects are available for interested students. Please contact me.

Publications (26)

Departmental Publications (8)

Found 8 items


Cooper SJB, Ottewell K, MacDonald A, Cremona T, Carthew SM (2016). Implications of uncertain taxonomy for conservation management: case studies on bandicoots and gliders (ABSTRACT). In Abstracts, 13-15 April, 2016: NRM Science Conference 2016: Sharing Science for Better Outcomes p. 44

Ottewell K, Coughran D, Gall M, Irvine L, Byrne M (2016). A recent stranding of Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai) in Western Australia. Aquatic Mammals 42, pp. 193–197

Ottewell KM, Bickerton DC, Byrne M, Lowe AJ (2016). Bridging the gap: a genetic assessment framework for population-level threatened plant conservation prioritization and decision-making. Diversity and Distributions 22, pp. 174–188

Quinlan K, Ottewell K (2016). A test case for the use of DNA barcoding using Berosus (order Coleoptera). Conservation Science Western Australia 10, pp. 1–4


Barrett R, Ottewell K, Byrne M, Coates D, Thiele K (2015). The tangled web of Australian spider flowers: a multifaceted approach to understanding the evolution of the Australian Cleome clade (ABSTRACT). In Australasian Systematic Botany Society Annual Conference, Canberra 2015: Building Our Botanical Capital: Program and Abstracts p. 14

Ottewell K, Barrett R, Byrne M, Coates D, Thiele K (2015). Complex variation in Cleome tetrandra and C. viscosa in the Australian monsoonal tropics (ABSTRACT). In SASB 2015 Conference Abstract Book (Oral & Poster) p. 21


Ottewell K, Dunlop J, Thomas N, Morris K, Coates D, Byrne M (2014). Evaluating success of translocations in maintaining genetic diversity in a threatened mammal. Biological Conservation 171, pp. 209–219


Ottewell K (2013). it’s all in the genes: quenda genetic diversity in the spotlight. Watsnu 19(2), pp. 2–3

Additional Publications (18)

(“In press” and draft publications, or those published while employed elsewhere.)


Breed MF, Ottewell KM, Gardner MG, Marklund MHK, Dormontt EE, Lowe AJ (2013) Mating patterns and pollinator mobility are critical traits in forest fragmentation genetics. Heredity doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.48


Karubian J, Browne L, Bosque C, Carlo T, Galetti M, et al. (2012) Seed dispersal by neotropical birds: Emerging patterns and underlying processes. Ornitologia Neotropical 23: 9-24.


Breed MF, Stead MG, Ottewell KM, Gardner MG, Lowe AJ (2013) Which provenance and where? Seed sourcing strategies for revegetation in a changing environment. Conservation Genetics 14(1): 1-10


Breed MF, Ottewell KM, Gardner MG, Marklund MHK, Stead MG, Harris JBC, Lowe AJ (2012) Mating system and early viability resistance to habitat fragmentation in a bird-pollinated eucalypt. Heredity doi:10.1038/hdy.2012.72 

Breed MF, Marklund MHK, Ottewell KM, Gardner MG, Harris JBC, Lowe AJ (2012) Pollen diversity matters: revealing the neglected effect of pollen diversity on fitness in fragmented landscapes. Molecular ecology 21(24): 5955-5968.

Ottewell K, Grey E, Castillo F, Karubian J (2012) The pollen dispersal kernel and mating system of an insect-pollinated tropical palm, Oenocarpus bataua. Heredity 109: 332–339

Breed MF, Gardner MG, Ottewell KM, Navarro CM, Lowe AJ (2012) Shifts in reproductive assurance strategies and inbreeding costs associated with habitat fragmentation in Central American mahogany. Ecology Letters 15(5): 444-452.


Ottewell KM, Bickerton D, Lowe AJ (2011) Can a seed bank provide demographic and genetic rescue in a declining population of the endangered shrub Acacia pinguifolia? Conservation Genetics 12(3): 669-678.

Forrest CN, Ottewell KM, Whelan RJ, Ayre DJ (2011) Tests for inbreeding and outbreeding depression and estimation of population differentiation in the bird-pollinated shrub Grevillea mucronulata. Annals of Botany 108(1): 185-195

Breed MF, Ottewell KM, Gardner MG, Lowe AJ (2011) Clarifying climate change adaptation responses for scattered trees in modified landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology 48(3): 637-641


Ayre D, O’Brien E, Ottewell K, Whelan R (2010) The accumulation of genetic diversity within a canopy‐stored seed bank. Molecular Ecology 19(13): 2640-2650

Ottewell KM, Donnellan SC, Paton DC (2010) Evaluating the demographic, reproductive and genetic value of eucalypt paddock trees for woodland restoration in agricultural landscapes. Restoration Ecology 18: 263-272


Ayre DJ, Ottewell KM, Krauss SL, Whelan RJ (2009) Genetic structure of seedling cohorts following repeated wildfires in the fire‐sensitive shrub Persoonia mollis ssp. nectens. Journal of Ecology 97(4): 752-760

Ottewell KM, Donnellan SC, Lowe AJ, Paton DC (2009) Predicting reproductive success of insect- versus bird-pollinated scattered trees in agricultural landscapes. Biological Conservation142(4): 888-898


Ottewell KM, Donnellan SC, Moran GF, Paton DC (2005) Multiplexed microsatellite markers for the genetic analysis of Eucalyptus leucoxylon (Myrtaceae) and their utility for ecological and breeding studies in other Eucalyptus species. Journal of Heredity 96(4): 445-451


Gardner MG, Ottewell K, Adams M (2004) Isolation of microsatellites in a parthenogenetic lizard Menetia greyii (Scincidae) and their utility in sexual species of the Menetia greyii complex. Molecular Ecology Notes 4(2): 219-221


Roberts DG, Ottewell KM, Whelan RJ, Ayre DJ (2014) Is the post-disturbance composition of a plant population determined by selection for outcrossed seedlings or by the composition of the seedbank? Heredity 112(4): 409-414


Browne L, Ottewell K, Karubian J (2015) Short-term genetic consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation for the neotropical palm Oenocarpus batauaHeredity doi:10.1038/hdy.2015.35