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Research Scientist (Conservation Genetics)
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue
Kings Park Western Australia 6005
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(+61 8) 9480 3642
(+61 8) 9480 3641

Research areas

  • Conservation genetics
  • Ecological genetics
  • Phylogenetics and phylogeography
  • Pollen and seed dispersal (marine)
  • Marine restoration

Academic background

Liz started at Kings Park in June 2004. She is interested in using molecular genetic approaches to address issues in evolutionary biology and conservation including the application of population genetic data for conservation and management of threatened and endangered species, comparative phylogeography (examining patterns of genetic variation across landscapes and explaining them in terms of gene flow, distribution, landscape, and historical events), and molecular systematics. Liz has worked with a wide variety of organisms and gained experience working with many different genetic markers. Liz spent six years as a post-doc with Drs Keith Crandall and Jack Sites at Brigham Young University, working primarily on freshwater crayfish and South American lizards. More recently, her research has focused on bushland restoration - identifying suitable source populations (seeds and green stock material) to reintroduce into Bold Park for restoration purposes. This work is part of a larger program to develop genetic guidelines for urban bushland restoration. Her current research focuses on population genetics, mating systems, long distance dispersal and recruitment in Australian seagrasses, Posidonia, with a view to improving current restoration practices.

Research projects

Ecological and genetic connectivity in seagrasses: the role of sexual reproduction, dispersal and recruitment on meadow restoration. ARC Linkage project (2013-2016). Partner Organisation: Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.

Establishing genetic guidelines for the effective ecological restoration of seagrass meadows. ARC Linkage project (2010-2013). Industry Partners: Cockburn Cement, Department of Environment and Conservation, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.

Development of genetic markers and clonal diversity in the seagrass Posidonia australis in Cockburn Sound. Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Program through Oceanica Consulting Pty Ltd (2008-2010). Industry Partners: Cockburn Cement, Department of Industry and Resources, Department of Environment and Conservation.

Survey of the Muddy Lakes area in Western Australia for quokkas Setonix brachyurus (2008). Department of Environment, Water, Heritage, and the Arts, Canberra.

Rapid genetic delineation of local provenance for effective restoration of urban bushland remnants. ARC Linkage project (2004-2007). Industry Partner: Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.

The phylogeny of Xantusiidae, and its placement within Scleroglossa (Reptilia: Squamata). NSF grant awarded to Sites et al. (2002).



  • Suzanna Evans (PhD: UNSW, 2011 - ) Genetic diversity and trophic interactions in seagrass beds.
  • Alison Ritchie (PhD: UWA, 2010 - ) A genetic assessment of ecological restoration success.


  • Ilena Gecan (Honours: UWA, 2012) Realised pollen dispersal in the seagrass Posidonia australis.


Refereed publications

  • Sinclair EA, Gecan I, Krauss SL, Kendrick GA (accepted) Against the odds: complete outcrossing in a monoecious clonal seagrass Posidonia australis (Posidoniaceae). Annals of Botany.
  • Sinclair EA, Krauss SL, Anthony J, Hovey R, Kendrick GA (submitted) The interaction of environment and genetic diversity within meadows of the seagrass Posidonia australis (Posidoniaceae). Marine Ecology Progress Series.
  • Evans, AM, Sinclair, EA, Steinberg, PD, Verges, A, Poore, AGB, Kendrick, GA.(2014) Genetic diversity in threatened Posidonia australis seagrass meadows. Conservation Genetics.
  • Krauss, SL, Sinclair, EA, Bussell, JD & Hobbs, RJ (2013) An ecological genetic delineation of local seed-source provenance for ecological restoration. Ecology and Evolution 3: 2138-2149.
  • Noonan, BP, Pramuk, JB, Bezy, RL, Sinclair, EA, de Queiroz, K & Sites, JW Jr (2013) Phylogenetic relationships within the lizard clade Xantusiidae: Using trees and divergence times to address evolutionary questions at multiple levels. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69: 109-122.
  • Ritchie, A, Krauss, SL, Nevill, P, Sinclair, EA & Dixon, KW (2013) The birds and the bees and the Banksia mating trees: measuring the success of Banksia woodland restoration using genetic and ecological markers. Royal Society of Western Australia 96: 24-25.
  • Sinclair, EA, Verduin, J, Krauss, SL, Hardinge, J, Anthony J & Kendrick, GA (2013) A genetic assessment of a successful Seagrass meadow (Posidonia australis) restoration trial. Ecological Management and Restoration 14: 68-71.
  • Kendrick, GA, Waycott, M, Carruthers, T, Cambridge, M, Hovey, R, Krauss, S, Lavery, P, Les, D, Lowe, R, Mascaró, O, Ooi Lean Sim, J, Orth, RJ, Rivers, D, Ruiz-Montoya, L, Sinclair, EA, Statton, J, van Dijk, K & Verduin, J (2012) The central role of dispersal in the maintenance and persistence of seagrass populations. BioScience 62: 56-65.
  • Sinclair, EA, Madsen, A, Walsh, T, Nelson, J & Crandall, KA (2011) Extensive gene flow across independent river drainages in the giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi (Decapoda: Parastacidae); implications for conservation. Animal Conservation 14: 87-97.
  • Sinclair, EA & Barrett, R (2010) Morphological and molecular assessment of 
Desmocladus flexuosusand D. asper (Restionaceae). Nuytsia 20: 7-17
  • Anthony, JM, Phillips, RD, Sinclair, EA & Dixon, KW (2010) Characterisation of polymorphic microsatellite markers isolated from Drakaea glyptodonConservation Genetics Resources 2: 291-294.
  • Swarts, ND, Sinclair, EA, Francis, A & Dixon, KW (2010) Ecological specialization in mycorrhizal symbiosis leads to rarity in an endangered orchid. Molecular Ecology 19: 3226-3242.
  • Sinclair, EA, Cheetham, B, Krauss, SL & Hobbs, RJ (2010) High levels of genetic diversity in a clonal relict Alexgeorgea nitens (Restionaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 58: 206-213.
  • Sinclair, EA, Pramuk, JB, Bezy, RL, Crandall, KA & Sites, JW Jr (2010) DNA evidence for non-hybrid origins of parthenogenesis in natural populations of vertebrates. Evolution 64: 1346-1357.
  • Sinclair, EA, Anthony, J, Coupland, GT, Waycott, M, Barrett, MD, Barrett, RL, Cambridge, ML, Wallace, MJ, Dixon, KD, Krauss, SL & Kendrick, GA (2009) Characterisation of polymorphic microsatellite markers in the widespread Australian seagrass, Posidonia australis Hook. f. (Posidoniaceae), with cross-amplification in the sympatric P. sinuosa. Conservation Genetics Resources 1: 273-276.
  • Swarts, ND, Sinclair, EA, Krauss, SL & Dixon, KW (2009) Genetic diversity in fragmented populations of the critically endangered spider orchid Caladenia huegelii: implications for conservation. Conservation 
Genetics 10: 1199-1208.
  • Sinclair, EA & Hobbs, RJ (2009) Sample size effects on estimates of population genetic structure: implications for ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology 17: 837-844.
  • Sinclair, EA & Hyder, BM (2009) Surviving Quokka (Setonix brachyurus) 
population on the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia. Australian Mammalogy 31: 67-69.
  • Sinclair, EA, Cheetham, B, Krauss SL & Hobbs, RJ (2008) Morphological and molecular variation in Conospermu,m triplinervium R.Br (Proteaceae), the tree smokebush, and their implications for bushland restoration. Australian Journal of Botany 56: 451-460.
  • Swarts, ND, Sinclair, EA & Dixon, KW (2007) Characterisation of microsatellite loci in the endangered grand spider orchid Caladenia huegelii (Orchidaceae). Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 1141-1143.
  • Sinclair, EA, Bussell, JD, Krauss, SL, Hobbs, R & Dixon, KW (2006) Molecular markers detect multiple origins of Agonis flexuosa (Myrtaceae) plants used in urban bushland restoration. Ecological 
Management and Restoration 7: 234-235.
  • Sinclair, EA, Scholl, R, Bezy, RL, Crandall, KA & Sites, JW Jr (2006) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in the yellow-spotted night lizard Lepidophyma flavimaculatum. Molecular 
Ecology Notes 6: 233-236.
  • Shull, HC, Pérez-Losada, M, Blair, D, Sewel, K, Sinclair, EA, Lawler, S, Ponniah, M & Crandall, KA (2005) Phylogeny of the freshwater crayfish Euastacus(Decapoda: Parastacidae) based on four nuclear and 
mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 249-263.
  • Sinclair, EA, Fetzner, JW, Buhay, J & Crandall, KA (2004) Proposal to complete a phylogenetic taxonomy and systematic revision for freshwater crayfish (Astacida). Freshwater Crayfish 14: 21-29.
  • Sinclair, EA, Bezy, RL, Camarillo, J, Bolles, K, Crandall, KA & Sites, JW Jr (2004) Testing species boundaries in an ancient species complex with deep phylogeographic history: genus Xantusia (Squamata: Xantusiidae). The American Naturalist 163(2): 396-414.
  • Sinclair, EA, Black, HL & Crandall, KA (2003) Microsatellite variation in a wild American black bear (Ursus americanus) population: a look at home range, relatedness, and multiple paternity. Western North American Naturalist 63(4): 489-497.
  • Wright, EJ, Sinclair, EA, Annis, PC (2002) Laboratory determination of the requirements for control of Trogoderma variabile (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) by heat. Journal of Stored Products Research 38: 147-155.
  • Sinclair, EA, Costello, B, Courtenay, JM & Crandall, KA (2002) Detecting a genetic bottleneck in Gilbert’s Potoroo (Potorous 
gilbertii) (Marsupialia: Potoroidae), inferred from microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Conservation Genetics 3: 191-196.
  • DeWeerdt, S, Crandall, KA, Moritz, C, Sinclair, EA, Waples, R & Wayne, R (2002) What really is an evolutionary significant unit? The debate over integrating genetics and ecology in conservation biology. Conservation in Practice 3: 10-17.
  • Sinclair, EA (2001) Phylogeographic variation in the quokka, Setonix 
brachyurus (Marsupialia: Macropodidae). Animal Conservation 4: 325-333.
  • Sinclair, EA (2001) Microgeographic variation in two relict island populations of the quokka, Setonix brachyurus, assessed by allozyme electrophoresis. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 84: 111-116.
  • Sinclair, EA, Swenson, E, Bates, W, Choate, D, Wolf, M & Crandall, KA (2001) Gene flow estimates in Utah's cougars imply management beyond Utah. Animal Conservation 4: 257-264.
  • Sinclair, EA, Murch, AR, Di Renzo, M & Palermo, M (2000) Chromosome morphology in Gilbert’s Potoroo, Potorous gilbertii (Marsupialia: Potoroidae). Australian Journal of Zoology 48: 281-287.
  • Harris, DJ, Sinclair, EA, Mercador, NL, Marshall, J & Crandall, KA (1999) Squamate relationships based on C-mos nuclear DNA sequences. Herpetological Journal 9: 147-151.
  • Sinclair, EA (1998) Morphological variation among populations of the quokka, Setonix brachyurus (Macropodidae: Marsupialia), in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 46: 439-449.
  • Sinclair, EA & Westerman, M (1997) The molecular relationship of Gilbert's Potoroo (Marsupialia: Potoroidae). Journal of Mammalian Evolution 4: 147-161.
  • Sinclair, EA, Danks, A & Wayne, AF (1996) Rediscovery of Gilbert's Potoroo, Potorous tridactylus, in Western Australia. Australian Mammalogy 19: 69-72.
  • Sinclair, EA, Webb, NJ, Marchant, AD & Tidemann, CR (1996) Determination of genetic variation in the Little Red Flying-fox, Pteropus scapulatus (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae): implications for management. Biological Conservation 76: 45-50.

Book chapter

  • Sinclair, EA, Pérez-Losada, M, & Crandall, KA (2005) Molecular phylogenetics for conservation in Purvis, A, Gittleman, JL & Brooks, TM. (eds.) Phylogeny and Conservation. Cambridge University Press Pp. 19-56.

Popular articles

  • Verduin, J & Sinclair, EA (2013) Seagrass meadow restoration trial using transplants – Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration; online at
  • Sinclair, EA & Friend, JA (2013) Australian endangered species: Gilbert's Potoroo. The Conversation; online at
  • Sinclair, EA (2012) Dispersal on the high seas - the ecological genetics of seagrass seed dispersal. Friends of Kings Park Quarterly Magazine Autumn: 20-22. Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, West Perth.
  • Krauss, SL, Sinclair EA, Stingemore J & Hufford K (2011) A practical genetic contribution towards best-practice seed-sourcing guidelines for ecological restoration. Australasian Plant Conservation 19: 23-24.
  • Sinclair, EA (2009) Restoration genetics of seagrass meadows. Friends of Kings Park Quarterly Magazine Summer: 20-21. Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, West Perth.
  • Sinclair, EA (2008) A molecular look at bushland restoration. Friends of Kings Park Quarterly Magazine Summer: 22-24. Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, West Perth.
  • Sinclair, EA & Morris, K (1996) Where have all the quokkas gone? Landscope (Summer): 49-53.
  • Start, T, Burbidge, A, Sinclair, EA & Wayne, AF (1995) Lost and Found - Potoroos. Landscope (Autumn): 28-33.

Unrefereed reports

  • Sinclair, EA (2013) Revised synthesis report on Population genetics of Posidonia australis. Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan. July 2003 to June 2013. Oceanica Consulting.
  • Sinclair, EA (2013) Annual Report to the Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan: Genetic diversity in Posidonia australis meadows. Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA (2012) Annual Report to the Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan: Genetic diversity in Posidonia australis meadows. Report #59 from the Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA (2011) Annual Report to the Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan: Genetic diversity in Posidonia australis meadows. Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA (2010) Report on Population genetics of Posidonia australis. Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan. Synthesis Report, July 2003 to June 2010. Oceanica Consulting.
  • Sinclair, EA (2010) Annual Report to the Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan: Genetic diversity in Posidonia australis meadows. Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA (2009) Assessment of population genetic variation in Posidonia australis: update on the key outcomes of seagrass provenance research, February –June 2009. Report #46 from the Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA & Hyder, BM (2008) A survey of the Muddy Lakes area for Quokkas (Setonix brachyurus). Confidential report to the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage, and the Arts, Canberra.
  • Sinclair, EA, Bussell, J & Krauss, SL (2006) Population differentiation in Agonis flexuosa, the sweet peppermint, with the identification of non-local plants in Bold Park. Report # 36 from the Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA (2005) An assessment of genetic provenance in Desmocladus flexuosus and D. asper(Restionaceae) on the Swan Coastal Plain. Unpublished report # 32 from the Genetics Laboratory, BGPA Science Directorate.
  • Sinclair, EA & Friend, JA (2000) Conservation biology of Australia’s most endangered marsupial. Unpublished report to National Geographic Society, USA.
  • Sinclair, EA & Crandall, KA (1999) Report on using genetic analyses to examine large mammal populations in Utah. Unpublished report to the Utah Division of Wildlife Research, USA.