Dr Vera Weisbecker

Associate Professor in Evolutionary Biology

College of Science and Engineering

place Information Science & Technology (IST 224)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I am the head of the Morphological Evo-Devo lab at Flinders University.

I grew up in Germany and completed my undergraduate studies at Tübingen University. During a year abroad at Flinders University in 2000, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service, I met my now-husband on a Flinders University Underwater Club trip. I managed to convince my German supervisor and the South Australian Museum to let me do my German graduation thesis in Adelaide, which I finished in 2003. In 2004, I received a scholarship to complete my PhD in Prof. Michael Archers lab at UNSW, co-supervised by Prof. Suzanne Hand and Prof. Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra (London NHM/University of Zürich. After receiving my PhD on marsupial postcranial Evo-Devo in 2008, I won a Volkswagen Evolution Fellowship to work at Cambridge and UCL in Prof. Anjali Goswami’s lab, as well as Jena University in Prof. Lennart Olsson’s lab. I started my first tenured position at The University of Queensland in late 2011. In 2020, I managed to bring my husband and three kids back to where my Australian journey began - Flinders University!

My lab investigates diversity patterns and adaptations in vertebrates, particularly marsupials (such as wombats, kangaroos, and Tassie Devils). I am particularly fascinated by the fact that marsupial mammals have been born at tiny sizes, and have to actively move to the pouch at birth, for at least the last 60 million years. I am interested in what this does to the evolution and how this might impact on their ability to quickly adapt to changing environments.

I work closely with the Palaeontologists (Prideaux/Long labs) and Phylogeneticists (Lee lab) here at Flinders. I also recently joined the Center of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) as a Chief Investigator, in collaboration with Prof. Corey Bradshaw’s Global Ecology Lab.

Topic coordinator
BIOL3712 Integrative Physiology of Animals and Plants
Topic lecturer
STEM3100 Research Project in Science
BIOL2706 Vertebrate Form and Function
Supervisory interests
Vertebrate palaeontology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Evolution/Ecology (1)
Associate supervisor: Marsupial evolution and adaptation (2), Zooarchaeology (1)
Principal supervisor: Mammalian evolution (2)
Associate supervisor: Mammalian Evolution (1)