Publications recognise the scientific contributions of Victorian students working at GTAC

Students participating in GTAC programs have undertaken research that has led to publications in peer-reviewed science journals.


SIRE students produce evidence for a new tick species

Four Victorian school students that participated in the Science Immersion Research Experience (SIRE) produced DNA evidence that a parasitic tick of the Australian platypus is a distinct species.  The work resulted in a scientific report that was co-authored by the students, Dylan Barry, Mikayla Begent, Tyrone Hoang, and Luisa Taafua.

Lead author of the paper, Dr Mackenzie Kwak of the National University of Singapore, says the discovery can be harnessed in conservation efforts for the platypus.  It opens the possibility of monitoring changes in platypus populations by tracking the DNA barcodes of their ticks.

Click here to access the scientific article

Kwak, M.L., J. Griffiths, D. Barry, M. Begent, T. Hoang, L. Taafua and A. Chiovitti (2018) The First DNA barcodes for the Australian platypus tick Ixodes ornithorhynchi Lucas, 1846 (Acari: Ixodidae) to facilitate conservation efforts for a declining parasite and its host.  Acaralogia 58: 845-849.

Click here for further details about GTAC’s Science Immersion Research Experience



Citizen science students provide insights into the genetic diversity of Victoria’s reptile species

The collective effort of students participating in GTAC’s DNA Barcoding program has generated 27 reptile DNA sequences that are new to science and are now curated in the GenBank database.  The work was undertaken by 406 Victorian school students working with 44 GTAC scientist mentors and was described in a scientific article published in PLoS ONE.

The project was undertaken in collaboration with Museums Victoria herpetologist, Dr Joanna Sumner.  Dr Sumner noted that the students’ data revealed wide divergence among populations of some skink species, eliciting more extensive investigations of those species at Museums Victoria.

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Chiovitti, A., F. Thorpe, C. Gorman, J.L. Cuxson, G. Robevska, C. Szwed, J.C. Duncan, H.K. Vanyai, J. Cross, K.R. Siemering and J. Sumner (2019) A citizen science model for implementing statewide educational DNA barcoding.  PLoS ONE 14: e0208604.

Click here for further details about GTAC’s DNA Barcoding program