Joanna Sumner

Dr Joanna Sumner

Manager, Genetic Resources

About me

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I have been involved in the fields of molecular ecology, population genetics, phylogeography and conservation biology for 20 years. I love both field based and lab based research and the way they compliment each other so well.

My PhD research was on the effect of rainforest fragmention on the genetic diversity of reptiles. I alternated between crawling around in rainforest in the Wet Tropics north of Cairns looking for lizards, then doing molecular work at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

I joined Museum Victoria in 2006 as an ARC postdoctoral researcher collaborating with Prof. Scott Keogh from the Australian National University. This research focused on water skinks in south-eastern Australia and how the Great Dividing Range has shaped their evolutionary history of and speciation.

I took up my current position managing the frozen tissue collection and the molecular biology laboratories in 2007.  I have continued my research on topics ranging from conservation genetics of alpine skinks to identifying the components of snake venoms.

Qualifications

PhD (University of Queensland)

BSc (Hons) University of Sydney

Key publications

FitzSimmons, N. and Sumner, J. 2016. Genetics in Field Ecology and Conservation. Pp 352-369 in: C.K. Dodd, Jr. ed. Reptile Ecology and Conservation, Oxford University Press, UK.

Haines, M., Stuart-Fox, D., Sumner, J., Clemann, N., Chapple, D., Melville, M (2017) A complex history of introgression and vicariance in a threatened montane skink (Pseudemoia cryodroma) across an Australian sky island system. Conservation Genetics. doi:10.1007/s10592-017-0945-7.

Sumner, J., Webb, J.K., Shine, R., Keogh, JK. (2010) Molecular and morphological assessment of Australia’s most endangered snake, Hoplocephalus bungaroides, reveals two evolutionarily significant units for conservation. Conservation Genetics. 11 (3):747-758.

Genome 10K Community of Scientists (2009) Genome 10K: A Proposal to Obtain Whole-Genome Sequence for 10 000 Vertebrate Species. Journal of Heredity, 100(6):659-674

Sumner, J., T. Jessop, D. Paetkau, C. Moritz. (2004). The effect of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation on molecular diversity in a rainforest endemic skink, Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae. Molecular Ecology. 13:259-269.

Links

Projects and events

Grants

2017: Australian Society of Herpetologists, Paul Webber Grant: Conservation, species diversity and ecological requirements of Uperoleia toadlets in Victoria $4988

2016: Bioplatforms Australia, Oz Mammals Genomics initiative $1000 000

2016-2019: ARC Linkage Grant: Co-evolutionary Processes Driving Venom Diversity in Tiger Snakes $164,000

2016: McCoy Seed Grant: Wildlife Disease Collection

2014: McCoy Seed Grant: Victorian Venom Bank $17 986

2007: ARC Futures Networks Early Career Researchers Phylogeography and Coalescence Workshop. $15 000

2006-2008: ARC Postdoctoral Fellow: Testing Theories of Historical Divergence using South Eastern Australian Reptiles. $318 000

1999: Rainforest CRC Research Support Scheme, UQ $7400

1999: University of Queensland Postgraduate Travel Grant $5000

1996-1999: Dept. of Zoology, UQ postgraduate conference grants $300 each year

Awards

2002: Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, University of Queensland

1996: Student Travel Award: Australian Society of Herpetologists, UQ $200

1995-1998: Australian Postgraduate Award to undertake PhD research

Biodiversity Surveys and Fieldwork

East Gippsland Bush Blitz 2016

Grampians Bioscan 2014

Victorian Alps Bioscan 2013

Museum Victoria Herpetology Kimberley WA 2013

Lake Condah Bush Blitz, 2012

Wilson’s Promontory Bioscan, 2011

Great Victorian Desert Biodiversity Survey, WA, 2010

Committees

Museums Victoria DNA Lab Steering Committee

DELWP Faunal Translocation Evaluation Panel

Deakin University Life Sciences Advisory Board

FAUNABANK Steering Committee

Teaching and students

I'm available for student supervision.

Current Students

Kirilee Chaplin: PhD 2014-17: Conservation genetics, ecology and taxonomy of grassland earless dragons (Agamidae: Tympanocryptis spp.) in north-eastern Australia

Theodoros Tasoulis: PhD 2016-2018: Australian elapid snake evolution

Past Students

Stephanie Chapple: PhD 2009 – 11. (discontinued). Systematics of Australia’s most diverse temperate fish genus, Heteroclinus.

Luisa Teasedale MSc. 2010-11 Function and evolution of throat colour polymorphism in the Tawny Dragon (Ctenophorus decresii). Cosupervised with Devi Stuart-Fox (Melbourne University).

Pete Smissen MSc. 2010-11: Phylogeography and population genetics of Varanus varius: evidence of rapid expansion and high gene flow in a mobile lizard. Coupervised with Jane Melville  (Museum Victoria) and Tim Jessop (Melbourne University).

Francesca Lyndon-Gee: MSc. 2009 – 10: Assessing functional responses of lizards to ecological and disturbance processes in forests of East Gippsland. Coupervised with Tim Jessop (Melbourne University).

Susi Maldonado: Honours 2008 – 9: Human-induced versus historical habitat shifts: identifying the processes that shaped the genetic structure of the threatened grassland legless lizard, Delma impar. Coupervised with Jane Melville  (Museum Victoria).

Tessa Koumoundouros Honours 2007-8  Current genetic isolation and fragmentation contrasts with historical connectivity in an alpine lizard (Cyclodomorphus praealtus) threatened by climate change. Coupervised with Jane Melville  (Museum Victoria) and Nick Clemanm (ARI).

Publications

Haines, M., Stuart-Fox, D., Sumner, J., Clemann, N., Chapple, D., Melville, M (2017) A complex history of introgression and vicariance in a threatened montane skink (Pseudemoia cryodroma) across an Australian sky island system. in press Conservation Genetics. doi:10.1007/s10592-017-0945-7

Menkhorst, P, Clemann, N and Sumner, J (2016) Fauna-rescue programs highlight unresolved scientific, ethical and animal welfare issues. Pacific Conservation Biology - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PC16007.

Haines, M. Melville, J., Sumner, J., Clemann, N., Chapple, D., Stuart-Fox, D. (2016) Geographic variation in hybridisation and ecological differentiation between three syntopic, morphologically similar species of montane lizards. Molecular Ecology 25: 2887-2903.

Keely, C.C., Hale, J.M., Heard, G.W., Parris, K.M., Sumner, J., Hamer, A.J. and Melville, J. (2015) Genetic structure and diversity of the endangered growling grass frog in a rapidly urbanizing region. Royal Society Open Science 2: 140255, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140255.

Clemann, N., Rowe, K.M., Rowe, K.C., Raadik, T., Gomon, M., Menkhorst, P., Sumner, J., Bray, B., Norman, M. Melville, J. (2014). Value and impacts of collecting vertebrate voucher specimens, with guidelines for ethical collection. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 72: 141-151.

Smissen, P.J., Melville, J., Sumner, J., Jessop T.J. (2013) Mountain barriers and river conduits: phylogeographical structure in a large, mobile lizard (Varanidae: Varanus varius) from eastern Australia. Journal of Biogeography 40 (9): 1729–1740.

Maldonado, S.P.  Melville, J., Peterson G.N. L., Sumner, J. (2012) Human-induced versus historical habitat shifts: identifying the processes that shaped the genetic structure of the threatened grassland legless lizard, Delma impar. Conservation Genetics 13 (5): 1329-1342.

Brennan, K.E.C., Twigg, P.J., Watson, A., Pennington, A., Sumner, J. Davis, R., Jackson, J., Brooks, B., Grant, F., Underwood, R. (2012) Cross-cultural systematic biological surveys in Australia’s Western Desert. Ecological Management & Restoration, 13 (1): 72-80.

Dubey S, Sumner J, Pike D, Keogh JS, Webb JK, Shine R (2011) Genetic Connectivity among Populations of an Endangered Snake Species from Southeastern Australia (Hoplocephalus bungaroides, Elapidae). Ecology and Evolution 1(2):218–227.

Sumner, J., Webb, J.K., Shine, R., Keogh, JK. (2010) Molecular and morphological assessment of Australia’s most endangered snake, Hoplocephalus bungaroides, reveals two evolutionarily significant units for conservation. Conservation Genetics. 11 (3):747-758.

Genome 10K Community of Scientists (2009) Genome 10K: A Proposal to Obtain Whole-Genome Sequence for 10 000 Vertebrate Species. Journal of Heredity, 100(6):659-674

Imansyah, M.J, Jessop,T.S, Sumner, J. Purwandana, D., Arieffiendy, A., Seno, A. (2009)  Distribution, seasonal use, and predation of incubation mounds of Orange-footed Scrubfowl on Komodo Island, Indonesia. Journal of Field Ornithology.80 (2):119-126.

Koumoundouros, T, Sumner, J, Clemann, N. Stuart-Fox, D. (2009) Current genetic isolation and fragmentation contrasts with historical connectivity in an alpine lizard (Cyclodomorphus praealtus) threatened by climate change. Biological Conservation. 142(5):992-1002.

Whelan, R.J., Sumner, J, Farrier, D., Mooney, C. (2009) A state is not an island: conserving evolutionary potential in the face of climate change by listing populations under current threatened species legislation. Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Policy 13(1):137-160.

Sumner, J. (2006) Higher relatedness within groups due to deferred natal dispersal in a rainforest skink, Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae. Austral Ecology 31: 441-448.

Jessop, T. S. Madsen, T. Sumner, J. Rudiharto, H. Phillips, J.A., Ciofi, C. (2006) Maximum body size among insular Komodo dragon populations covaries with large prey density.  Oikos 112: 422-429.

Sumner, J. (2005) Decreased relatedness between male prickly forest skinks (Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae) in habitat fragments. Conservation Genetics 6:333–340.

Jessop, T., Sumner, J., Lance, V., and Limpus, C. (2004) Reproduction in shark attacked sea turtles is supported by stress reduction mechanisms.  Proceeding of the Royal Society of London B (supp): 271: S91–S94

Jessop, T. S. Sumner, J., Limpus, C. J. Whittier, J. M. (2004) Interplay between sex, body condition and plasma hormone profiles in juvenile Hawksbill turtles subjected to a capture stress protocol. Journal of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry A.  137:197-204.

Jessop, T., Sumner, J., Rudiharto, H., Purwandana, D., Imansyah.  M.J., and Phillips, J. A. (2004) Distribution, use and selection of nest type by Komodo Dragons. Biological Conservation. 117: 463–470.

Sumner, J.  (2004) Notes on reproduction in the prickly forest skink, Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae.  Memoirs of the Queensland Museum.  49:732.

Sumner, J., T. Jessop, D. Paetkau, C. Moritz. (2004). The effect of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation on molecular diversity in a rainforest endemic skink, Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae. Molecular Ecology. 13:259-269.

Crowther, M.S., Sumner, J. & Dickman, C.R. (2003). Speciation of Antechinus stuartii and A. subtropicus (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae) in eastern Australia: molecular and morphological evidence. Australian Journal of Zoology 51:443–462.

Sumner, J. (2002) Morphometric and reproductive notes on the rare wet tropics skink, Glaphyromorphous mjobergi. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 48:146.

Sumner,  J., Rousset, F., Estoup, A. and Moritz, C. (2001). “Neighbourhood size”, dispersal and density estimates in the prickly forest skink (Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae) using individual genetic and demographic methods.  Molecular Ecology 10:1917 – 1927.

Sumner, J., Moritz, C. and Shine, R. (1999). Shrinking forest shrinks skink: morphological change in response to rainforest fragmentation in the prickly forest skink (Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae). Biological Conservation  91:159-167.

Sumner, J and Dickman, C. (1998). Distribution and identity of species in the Antechinus stuartii – A. flavipes group (Marsupialia : Dasyuridae) in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 46:27-41.

Shine, R., Webb, J.K., Fitzgerald, M. and Sumner, J. (1998). The impact of bush-rock removal on an endangered snake species Hoplocephalus bungaroides (Serpentes: Elapidae). Wildlife Research 25:285-295.

Book Chapters

FitzSimmons, N. and Sumner, J. 2016. Genetics in Field Ecology and Conservation. Pp 352-369 in: C.K. Dodd, Jr. ed. Reptile Ecology and Conservation, Oxford University Press, UK.

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