Dr Katharina Peters staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800

Dr Katharina Peters PhD, Bac

Postdoctoral Fellow - Ecology

School of Natural and Computational Sciences

I am originally from Germany, where I did my undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Osnabrück. In 2010, I moved to Adelaide, South Australia to obtain a BSc (Hons) at Flinders University, studying the impact of tourism on bottlenose dolphins in Adelaide's metropolitan waters with the Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab. I then moved on to do a PhD with the BirdLab at Flinders University  investigating causes and consequences of hybridisation in Darwins tree finches on the Galápagos Archipelago. During the past years I have worked in different projects related to behavioural ecology and conservation of a variety of aquatic and terrestrial species.

During 2018, I was an Australia Awards/Endeavour Research fellow investigating the foraging ecology of several species of toothed whales with the Cetacean Ecology Research Group at Massey University
​During 2019 I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Global Ecology Lab at Flinders University.  My research here used ecological modelling and the fossil record to elucidate palaeo-species abundances and extinction dynamics, as well as developing matrix-based population models to better understand the population development of koalas in the Mt Lofty Ranges. I remain affiliated with the Global Ecology Lab at Flinders University, where I hold adjunct academic status.

As of February 2020 I am back with the Cetacean Ecology Research Group at Massey as a postdoctoral fellow, where I am also topic coordinator for 196.327 Marine Mammalogy

I am a behavioural ecologist with a particular fascination for marine mammals. My research interests lie at the interface of animal behavior and distribution, population ecology and evolutionary biology and how to apply this information to better manage the conservation of wild populations and their associated environments. Addressing these questions requires quantitative and interdisciplinary approaches. Thus, I use an integrative approach involving field-intensive ecological and behavioral work with ecological modeling and molecular analyses. 

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  • Doctor of Philosophy - Flinders University (2016)
  • Bachelor of Science - Flinders University (2010)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

  • Ecology
  • Animal behaviour
  • Marine mammals

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Community Ecology (060202): Ecology (060200): Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205): Population Ecology (060207)

Research Outputs


Peters, KJ., Bury, SJ., Betty, EL., Parra, GJ., Tezanos-Pinto, G., & Stockin, KA. (2020). Foraging ecology of the common dolphin Delphinus delphis revealed by stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 652, 173-186
[Journal article]Authored by: Betty, E., Peters, K., Stockin, K.
Common, LK., O Connor, JA., Dudaniec, RY., Peters, KJ., & Kleindorfer, S. (2020). Evidence for rapid downward fecundity selection in an ectoparasite (Philornis downsi) with earlier host mortality in Darwin’s finches. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 33(4), 524-533
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Shabani, F., Ahmadi, M., Peters, KJ., Haberle, S., Champreux, A., Saltré, F., . . . Bradshaw, CJA. (2019). Climate-driven shifts in the distribution of koala-browse species from the Last Interglacial to the near future. Ecography. 42(9), 1587-1599
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Kleindorfer, S., Custance, G., Peters, KJ., & Sulloway, FJ. (2019). Introduced parasite changes host phenotype, mating signal and hybridization risk: Philornis downsi effects on Darwin's finch song. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286(1904)
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Peters, KJ., Saltré, F., Friedrich, T., Jacobs, Z., Wood, R., McDowell, M., . . . Bradshaw, CJA. (2019). FosSahul 2.0, an updated database for the Late Quaternary fossil records of Sahul. Scientific Data. 6(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Saltré, F., Chadoeuf, J., Peters, KJ., McDowell, MC., Friedrich, T., Timmermann, A., . . . Bradshaw, CJA. (2019). Climate-human interaction associated with southeast Australian megafauna extinction patterns. Nature Communications. 10(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Bilgmann, K., Parra, GJ., Holmes, L., Peters, KJ., Jonsen, ID., & Möller, LM. (2019). Abundance estimates and habitat preferences of bottlenose dolphins reveal the importance of two gulfs in South Australia. Scientific Reports. 9(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Peters, KJ., Evans, C., Aguirre, JD., & Kleindorfer, S. (2019). Genetic admixture predicts parasite intensity: Evidence for increased hybrid performance in Darwin's tree finches. Royal Society Open Science. 6(4)
[Journal article]Authored by: Aguirre-Davies, J., Peters, K.
Peters, KJ., & Kleindorfer, S. (2018). Avian population trends in Scalesia forest on Floreana Island (2004-2013): Acoustical surveys cannot detect hybrids of Darwin's tree finches Camarhynchus spp.. BIRD CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL. 28(2), 319-335
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Peters, KJ., Myers, SA., Dudaniec, RY., O'Connor, JA., & Kleindorfer, S. (2017). Females drive asymmetrical introgression from rare to common species in Darwin's tree finches. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 30(11), 1940-1952
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Peters, KJ., & Kleindorfer, S. (2015). Divergent foraging behavior in a hybrid zone: Darwin's tree finches (Camarhynchus spp.) on Floreana Island. CURRENT ZOOLOGY. 61(1), 181-190
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Kleindorfer, S., Peters, KJ., Custance, G., Dudaniec, RY., & O'Connor, JA. (2014). Changes in Philornis infestation behavior threaten Darwin's finch survival. CURRENT ZOOLOGY. 60(4), 542-550
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.
Peters, KJ., Parra, GJ., Skuza, PP., & Moeller, LM. (2013). First insights into the effects of swim-with-dolphin tourism on the behavior, response, and group structure of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins. MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE. 29(4), E484-E497
[Journal article]Authored by: Peters, K.


Kleindorfer, S., Peters, K., Hohl, L., & Sulloway, F. (2016). Flight behavior of an introduced parasite affects its Galapagos Island hosts: Philornis downsi and Darwin’s finches. In JS. Weis, & D. Sol (Eds.) Biological Invasions and Animal Behaviour. (pp. 158 - 179). : Cambridge University Press
[Chapter]Authored by: Peters, K.

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

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