Professor Mike Gardner

Professor in Biodiversity/Ecology

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (152)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

My vision is to study the intricacies of the natural world to instil others with a sense of awe and wonder so that they gain a sense of place - and are ultimately inspired to look after this world.

My vision has been pervasive in my career thus far. I obtained my degree at QUT in Brisbane, working on a highly polymorphic intertidal snail during my honours, investigating the relationship of shell morph to background. I then worked with Dr Bob Ward (CSIRO Marine Labs) for 2 1/2 years in Hobart where I looked at population genetic structure in school and gummy sharks. I came to Flinders University to study a PhD in a genetic investigation of sociality in a group living lizard with the late Prof. Mike Bull - after which I spent 3 1/2 years in England studying co-evolution between parasitic hoverflies and their host ants with Jeremy Thomas, Karsten Schonrogge and the late Graham Elmes.

However I was drawn back to Australia and its great lizard diversity - I returned to Adelaide for a two year postdoc with Flinders Biological Sciences where I linked Flinders and the South Australian Regional Facility for Molecular Ecology and Evolution. I am currently an Professor in Biodiversity/Ecology at Flinders University and retain links with the South Australian Museum. I work on two main systems, one is the long term sleepy lizard (Tiliqua rugosa) host/parasite study in the mid north of SA - in this system I explore questions about host-parasite interactions, lizard personality, and pair bonding. The other main system is a conservation based program exploring aspects of the endangered pygmy bluetongue lizard and how we can safely move this lizard further south to mitigate against climate change that risks extinction of the most northerly populations of this SA endemic lizard.


Degree/Award       Year Discipline/Field            Organisation Name
1 Ph.D                2000   Molecular Ecology       The Flinders University of South Australia
2 Bsc Applied Science    1991   Life Science            Queensland University of Technology
3 Honours in Life Science 1992   Population Genetics     Queensland University of Technology

Honours, awards and grants
  •      2017 Invited speaker Australian Society of Herpetology June 2017 Mike Bull symposium.
  •      2017 Invited speaker Royal Society of South Australia monthly seminars
  •      2016 Invited speaker Ecological Society of Australia conference November 2016. Wildlife disease symposium.
  •      2016 Deakin University Course Review Panel for Zoology Degree.
  •      2016 Invited to speak at The University of Auckland Seminar series (fully paid).
  •      2015 Invited speaker Adelaide University, School of Biological Sciences Seminar Series October 2015.
  •      2013 Invited speaker Systematics Workshop Adelaide “An Introduction to Next Generation Sequencing” June 2013.
  •      2011/2012 Hosted Dr Emese Meglécz (Aix-Marseille University France) on a sabbatical year at Flinders University (hosted October 2011 - September 2012). Also hosted Dr Gabriel Neve (Universite de Provence).
  •      2011/2012 Specially selected by the DVCR to undertake a Research Leaders program at Flinders University.
  •      2011 Feature scientist on a 3 month mounted display at the South Australian Museum, September – December 2011.
  •      2010 Invited speaker Australian Genomics Research Facility (AGRF) at the Inaugural Adelaide Next-Generation Sequencing Special Interest Group Meeting (one of two speakers) Oct 21 2010.
  •      2009 Flinders University Early Career Researcher Award (inaugural year, $2,500). This is a prestigious annual award to ECR’s with only 10 awarded University wide.
  •      2009 Invited to teach in the Population Genetics & Phylogeography Workshop organised by Prof Andy Lowe (Adelaide University). Other participants include Assoc. Prof. Steve Cooper (SA Museum), Prof. Scott Edwards (Harvard University USA), Juan Jose Robledo-Arnuncio (Dept. Forest Ecology and Genetics Forest Research Centre (CIFOR) Spain).
  •      2009 Flinders University Early Career Researcher Award ($2,500 for research). This is a prestigious award made yearly to ECR's only 10 awarded university wide.
  •     1991 Entomological Society of Queensland Student Award (for final year undergraduate project).
Key responsibilities
  •   Professor in Biodiversity/Ecology
  •   Honorary of the South Australian Museum
  •   Honours in Natural Sciences Coordinator
  •   President of The Australian Society of Herpetologists
Teaching interests

Molecular ecology; literature reviews; grant writing; conservation; lizard studies

Topic coordinator
BIOL2702 Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity
BIOL7720 Honours grant writing
Topic lecturer
BIOL3722 Conservation and Ecological Genetics
BIOL2702 Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity
BIOL7720 Honours grant writing
BIOD1102 Introduction to Biodiversity & Conservation
BIOL2711 Ecology
STEM8001 Research Methods
BIOD3701 Biodiversity & Conservation
Supervisory interests
Animal ecology, lizards, sleepy lizards, ticks
Host-parasite interactions
Lizard conservation, ecology and behaviour
Molecular ecology
Molecular evolution
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Information Technology (1), Lizard behaviour (1), Host parasite interactions (3), Conservation genetics (1), Genomics (1)
Expert for media contact
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Conservation
  • Lizards
  • Zoology