Taxonomy and Conservation Genomics

Request for Partnership

Working group co-chairs

  • Jodi Rowley (Australian Museum) – Frogs/Amphibians
  • Jane Melville (Museums Victoria) – Reptiles

Many Australian reptiles and amphibians are threatened with extinction or decline. We are generating population genomic datasets for a selection of threatened species, for which knowledge of genetic diversity and structure is needed urgently for conservation management.

Exon capture, ddRAD “genome scans”, and related methods are being used to understand risks of inbreeding or outbreeding depression, put current population sizes into historical context and identify adaptive variation that should be preserved.

Target species have been prioritised based on:

  • relevance to needs of conservation / management end-users
  • opportunity to tackle broad questions in conservation genetics / management
  • the availability of appropriate samples with good metadata
  • the availability of additional resources to facilitate project completion
  • the potential for public outreach and communication of results to the conservation / management community
  • the engagement of the conservation / management community in the project

AusARG is currently contributing to conservation genomics projects for the following species. Follow the links to learn more about each project:


  • Bushfire genetics: Australian frogs
    • Banjo frog – Limnodynastes dumerilii
    • Wallum Sedge frog – Litoria olongburensis
    • Tusked frog – Adelotus brevis
    • Eastern common froglet – Crinia signifera
    • Giant Barred Frog – Mixophyes iteratus
    • Litoria complexes – Litoria ewingii/verreauxii species complexes
    • Philoria genus
  • Howard River Toadlet – Uperoleia daviesae
  • Threatened ‘sky island’ nursery frogs – Cophixalus spp.
  • Yellow-spotted Bell Frog (Litoria castanea) and Peppered Tree Frog (Litoria piperata)


  • Bushfire genetics: Egernia saxatilis complex
    • Black rock skink – Warrumbungle Mountains – Egernia saxatilis saxatilis
    • Black rock skink – Kanangra Walls – Egernia saxatilis intermedia
    • Kaputar rock skink – Egernia roomi
    • Eastern crevice skink – Egernia mcpheei
    • Tree-crevice skink – Egernia striolata
  • Bushfire genetics: Skinks
    • Calyptotis
    • Harrisoniascincus
    • Anepischetosia
  • Bushfire genetics: Leaf-tail Geckos
    • Phyllurus
    • Saltuarius
  • Bushfire genetics: Dragons 
    • Grassland earless dragon – Tympanocryptis lineata group
    • Monaro grassland earless dragon – Tympanocryptis osbornei
    • Peter’s earless dragon – Tympanocryptis petersi
    • Painted ground dragon – Ctenophorus pictus
  • Arid zone Geckos (Pygopods)
    • Delma and Pygopus (D. australis, D. butleri, D. nasuta, D. tincta, and P. schraderi)
    • Strophurus (S. ciliaris, S. elderi, S. intermedius, S, krisalys, S. taeniatus, and S. williamsi)
  • Delicate garden skink – Lampropholis delicata
  • Skinks – Cryptoblepharus spp.


  • Carpet pythons – Morelia spilota complex


  • Species to be confirmed


  • Australasian Chelidae
    • Saw-shelled turtle – Myuchelys latisternum
    • Northern short-necked turtles (Emydura australis, victoriae, worreli, subglobosa, tanybaraga
    • Northern snake-necked turtles (Chelodina rugosaburrungandjii, kuchlingi, parkeri
    • Northern long-necked turtles (Chelodina longicollis, canni, mccordi, pritchardi, novaeguineae
    • Northern snapping turtles – Elseya dentata group