Professor Stephen Donnellan

Key Info

  • Position Title
    Research Associate
  • Section
    Herpetology Collection
    Australian Museum Research Institute

I recently retired from my role as Associate Director of Research and Collections at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide and have been keen continue to publish research on the evolutionary biology of the animals from the Australasian region.

My research interests are, to be frank, not focused at all, any question in biology that looks like it will advance knowledge is attractive. I have worked on viruses, pathogenic bacteria and fungi, parasites, plants and most of the major animal groups. Most of my research publications are on vertebrates, in particular frogs and reptiles. My technical expertise is in molecular genetics which I have found to have very useful application in wildlife forensics, natural resource management, invasive species biology, genomics and systematics (naming and classification of species).

I am very passionate about science communication and derive great satisfaction in providing life-long learning experiences to audiences across the age spectrum, an opportunity that only museums uniquely provide.

I’ve also derived immense satisfaction in training undergraduate and postgraduate students in evolutionary biology, many are still research collaborators, and we continue to do exciting work together.

While my expertise is in lab-based science, museum collections are the subjects and I have contributed to museum collections nationally through extensive field work across Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. My best memories as a biologist are not just the thrill of discovery but also the many months spent in villages in Papua New Guinea working with those communities to better understand the biodiversity of that amazing country.

Google scholar profile: ‪Stephen Donnellan - ‪Google Scholar


PhD, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (1985). Chromosome evolution in scincid lizards

Bachelor of Science (Genetics) Hons. Class 1, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (1976).