After finishing her PhD in 1996 on the population genetics of the Australian ghost bat Jessica spent almost 5 years based overseas as a postdoctoral researcher. From 1996-1999 she worked at the Zoology Department of the University of Cambridge using genetic markers to study the mating system (e.g. paternity, reproductive success) of British grey seals. After winning an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, Jessica moved to the Biology Department of Boston University, USA in 1999 where she worked for 2 years on her own research project investigating the link between flight, longevity and rates of molecular evolution in bats.

Jessica returned to Australia in 2001 and following a desire to move away from a purely academic base and pursue a growing interest in public science education, joined the Queensland Museum in 2002 as its first specialist geneticist (as opposed to taxonomist). At Queensland Museum she helped establish and continues to manage the Molecular Identities Laboratory. Jessica also played an instrumental role in setting up the Queensland Museum's first frozen tissue collection, which she also manages in collaboration with the other Biodiversity collection management staff.

While at the museum Jessica has been involved in a number of very interesting projects which are diverse both in terms of the scientific questions being asked and the animal groups on which those questions are focused.


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland

Research projects supported by Project DIG

Legless lizards of Queensland

Research publications supported by Project DIG

Worthington Wilmer J, Amey A, McDougal C, Venz M, Peck S, and Oliver PM. (2020) Comparative mitochondrial phylogeography of two legless lizards (Pygopodidate) from Queensland’s fragmented woodlands. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution special issue

Learn more about Jessica Worthington Wilmer