Dr Rebecca Johnson is a visiting professor with the Kyoto University Wildlife Research Center, and Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI). Dr Johnson’s science career is as a wildlife forensic scientist, conservation geneticist and chief investigator of the Koala Genome Consortium. In this presentation she will describe the breadth of AMRI research and how the museum utilises their natural science collections to solve applied science problems such as wildlife crime.
Wildlife crime is one of the most lucrative transnational crimes (along with drug, weapon and human trafficking). It is a serious and often confronting crime that can target vulnerable species, driving extinction and is often closely associated with organised crime. Dr Johnson commenced her work in wildlife forensic science soon after joining the Museum in 2003, and has since established the Australian Museum as one of the global leaders in the field. The museum’s Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics laboratory is the only ISO17025 accredited laboratory in Australia and one of only six such laboratories globally.
Dr Johnson will describe the science used in this work through case studies of investigation and prosecution of these crimes. She will also introduce a new collaboration, with WRC Director Murayama-sensei, focusing on understanding the eel (or unagi) trade in Japan. By volume, eel is one of the most highly traded group of species globally making this work highly relevant for Japan.