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Katherine A. Harrisson

Katherine A. Harrisson
La Trobe University & Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research

PhD Ecology and Evolution

About

53
Publications
6,475
Reads
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855
Citations
Citations since 2017
31 Research Items
698 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
Introduction
I am interested in applying genetic and genomic approaches to help answer conservation questions and improve how we manage biodiversity under environmental change. My current research uses novel genomic approaches to explore genome-wide variation in populations of Australian freshwater fish species.

Publications

Publications (53)
Article
Full-text available
Genomics promises exciting advances towards the important conservation goal of maximizing evolutionary potential, notwithstanding associated challenges. Here, we explore some of the complexity of adaptation genetics and discuss the strengths and limitations of genomics as a tool for characterizing evolutionary potential in the context of conservati...
Article
1.Habitat loss and associated fragmentation are major drivers of biodiversity decline and understanding how they affect population processes (e.g. dispersal) is an important conservation goal. In a large-scale test employing 10 x 10 km units of replication, three species of Australian birds, the fuscous honeyeater, yellow-tufted honeyeater and whit...
Article
Understanding how habitat fragmentation affects population processes (e.g. dispersal) at different spatial scales is of critical importance to conservation. We assessed the effects of habitat fragmentation on dispersal and regional and fine-scale population structure in a currently widespread and common cooperatively breeding bird species found acr...
Article
Full-text available
Fire is a major disturbance process in many ecosystems world-wide, resulting in spatially and temporally dynamic landscapes. For populations occupying such environments, fire-induced landscape change is likely to influence population processes, and genetic patterns and structure among populations. The Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee is an endange...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the demographic consequences of habitat loss on populations is essential for the conservation of threatened species. The threatened swamp skink (Lissolepis coventryi) is restricted to fragmented wetland habitats in Victoria and southeast South Australia. It has experienced significant habitat loss in the last 150 years, particularly a...
Article
Sex‐specific ecology has management implications, but rapid sex‐chromosome turnover in fishes hinders sex‐marker development for monomorphic species. We used annotated genomes and reduced‐representation sequencing data for two Australian percichthyids, Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica and golden perch M. ambigua, and whole genome resequencing...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding connectivity is crucial for the effective conservation and management of biota. However, measuring connectivity directly is challenging and it is often inferred based on assumptions surrounding dispersal potential, such as environmental history and species life history traits. Genetic tools are often underutilised, yet can infer conne...
Preprint
Sex-specific ecology has management implications, but rapid sex-chromosome turnover in fishes hinders development of markers to sex monomorphic species. Here, we use annotated genomes and reduced-representation sequencing data for two Australian percichthyids, the Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica and the golden perch M. ambigua, and whole gen...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation breeding management aims to reduce inbreeding and maximize the retention of genetic diversity in endangered populations. However, breeding management of wild populations is still rare, and there is a need for approaches that provide data-driven evidence of the likelihood of success of alternative in-situ strategies. Here, we provide an...
Article
Conservation management of wildlife benefits from understanding the genetic factors underlying individual fitness and population evolution. Habitat loss and fragmentation reduce genetic diversity and functional connectivity, limiting population persistence and adaptation to changing environments. Here we review and synthesise results from the Birds...
Preprint
Understanding sex-specific biology can aid conservation management. But understanding genomic sex differences of monomorphic fish species and developing molecular sexing assays is challenged by their diverse sex-determination systems. To facilitate research on Percichthyid fish, predominant in the Australian freshwater biota, we report whole genome...
Article
Reduced fitness as a result of inbreeding is a major threat facing many species of conservation concern [1-4]. However, few case studies for assessing the magnitude of inbreeding depression in the wild means that its relative importance as a risk factor for population persistence remains under-appreciated [5]. The increasing availability and afford...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the effects of landscape modification on gene flow of fauna is central to informing conservation strategies that promote functional landscape connectivity and population persistence. We explored the effects of large-scale habitat loss and fragmentation on spatial and temporal patterns of gene flow in a threatened Australian woodland b...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptive differences across species’ ranges can have important implications for population persistence and conservation management decisions. Despite advances in genomic technologies, detecting adaptive variation in natural populations remains challenging. Key challenges in gene-environment association studies involve distinguishing the effects of...
Article
Full-text available
One of the most iconic Australian fish is the Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii (Mitchell, 1838), a freshwater species that can grow to ∼1.8 metres in length and live ≥ 48 years of age. The Murray cod is of conservation concern as a result of strong population contractions, but is also popular for recreational fishing and is of growing aquaculture...
Article
Full-text available
• Arid landscapes pose arguably one of the greatest challenges to dispersal of aquatic insects, and may drive speciation in taxa with low dispersal potential. We investigated genetic divergence in aquatic insects with high and low dispersal potential between two regions within the Australian arid zone. We used two dragonfly species to infer pattern...
Article
Genetic rescue is an under-utilised conservation strategy used to boost the genetic diversity and/or fitness of small, isolated populations through the introduction of novel genes. Effective implementation of genetic rescue requires an understanding of the evolutionary history and genetic distinctiveness of populations. The Eltham copper butterfly...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic diversity underpins the ability of populations to persist and adapt to environmental changes. Substantial empirical data show that genetic diversity rapidly deteriorates in small and isolated populations due to genetic drift, leading to reduction in adaptive potential and fitness and increase in inbreeding. Assisted gene flow (i.e. via tran...
Article
Full-text available
Loss and fragmentation of habitat can disrupt genetic exchange between populations, which is reflected in changes to the genetic structure of populations. The Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) is a cooperatively breeding woodland bird, once common and widespread in southeastern Australia. The species has suffered population declines of...
Article
Genetic variation is critical to the persistence of populations and their capacity to adapt to environmental change. The distribution of genetic variation across a species' range can reveal critical information that is not necessarily represented in species occurrence or abundance patterns. We identified environmental factors associated with the am...
Article
Climatic differences across a taxon's range may be associated with specific bioenergetic demands and may result in genetics-based metabolic adaptation, particularly in aquatic ectothermic organisms that rely on heat exchange with the environment to regulate key physiological processes. Extending down the east coast of Australia, the Great Dividing...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic diversity is positively linked to the viability and evolutionary potential of species but is often compromised in threatened taxa. Genetic rescue by gene flow from a more diverse or differentiated source population of the same species can be an effective strategy for alleviating inbreeding depression and boosting evolutionary potential. The...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Aquatic ecosystems in Central Australia are subject to boom-bust cycles, with the fauna, including insects, enduring long droughts and extreme flood events. During the drought phase, watercourses are reduced to a few disconnected pools, few of which are permanent. As a result, the habitats available to aquatic insects in Central Australia are highl...
Article
Loss of functional connectivity following habitat loss and fragmentation could drive species declines. A comprehensive understanding of fragmentation effects on functional connectivity of an ecological assemblage requires investigation of multiple species with different mobilities, at different spatial scales, for each sex and in different landscap...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the evolutionary history of threatened populations can improve their conservation management. Re-establishment of past but recent gene flow could re-invigorate threatened populations and replenish genetic diversity, necessary for population persistence. One of the four nominal subspecies of the common yellow-tufted honeyeater, Licheno...
Data
Appendix S1 Summary of common genomic methods used for marker development and screening individuals for variation at large numbers of loci.
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how populations respond to habitat loss is central to conserving biodiversity. Population genetic approaches enable the identification of the symptoms of population disruption in advance of population collapse. However, the spatio-temporal scales at which population disruption occurs are still too poorly known to effectively conserve...
Data
Summary of CERVUS parentage analysis. (DOCX)
Data
Parent-offspring pairs identified by CERVUS parentage analysis. (DOCX)
Article
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are drivers of major declines in biodiversity and species extinctions. The actual causes of species population declines following habitat change are more difficult to discern and there is typically high covariation among the measures used to infer the causes of decline. The causes of decline may act direc...
Article
Habitat loss and associated fragmentation effects are well-recognised threats to biodiversity. Loss of functional connectivity (mobility, gene flow and demographic continuity) could result in population decline in altered habitat, because smaller, isolated populations are more vulnerable to extinction. We tested whether substantial habitat reductio...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The main aim of my PhD project is to gain understanding of the factors underpinning community structure, species diversity and population persistence of aquatic insects in the Australian desert. Through my thesis, I will examine how communities, species and populations are connected via landscape factors, hydrology and evolution.