Dr Bruce Deagle - molecular ecologist

Dr Bruce Deagle in the Australian Antarctic Division's ecological genetics laboratory.
Dr Bruce Deagle in the Australian Antarctic Division's ecological genetics laboratory.

Dr Bruce Deagle: BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD

Research interests

I've been fortunate to be involved in a wide range of interesting research projects that have used molecular genetic techniques to learn about animal population ecology. I started my university education in Canada, followed by a few years working in a laboratory investigating population genetic structure in Pacific salmon. After moving to Australia I enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Tasmania. My thesis focused on studying the diets of various marine predators by characterising the prey DNA present in faecal samples. This included research on the foraging ecology of macaroni penguins as part of the Antarctic Division's 2003-04 Heard Island ecosystem study. On completing my PhD (2006) I held an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Victoria, Canada (2008-2011) and then an RJL Hawke post-doctoral fellowship at the Antarctic Division (2011-2014). In these positions I primarily worked on evolutionary genetics of stickleback fish and the genomics of Antarctic krill, respectively.

Since 2014 I have been working as a research scientist within the ecological genetics group at the Antarctic Division. I am currently involved in continuing studies of animal diet (primarily penguins and seals) and Antarctic krill ecological genetics (population structuring and genetic responses to CO2-induced stress). I am also excited to be coordinating a new Australian Antarctic Science project that is investigating Southern Ocean plankton biodiversity using high-throughput DNA sequencing. This will include studies characterising communities of single-celled protists and zooplankton, and the bycatch species component of the Antarctic krill fishery.

Current projects


  • NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2008-2011)
  • RJL Hawke Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Antarctic Environmental Science (2011-2014)

Key outcome areas

  • Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

Related links

Selected publications

Deagle BE, Faux C, Kawaguchi S, Meyer B, Jarman SN (2015) Antarctic krill population genomics: apparent panmixia, but genome complexity and large population size muddies the water. Molecular Ecology (In review).

Deagle BE, Jarman SN, Coissac E, Pompanon F, Taberlet P (2014) DNA metabarcoding and the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I marker: not a perfect match. Biology Letters 10: e20140562.

Thomas AC, Jarman SN, Haman KH, Trites AW, Deagle BE (2014) Improving accuracy of DNA diet estimates using food tissue control materials and an evaluation of proxies for digestion bias. Molecular Ecology 23: 3706–3718.

Pompanon F, Deagle BE, Symondson WOC, Brown DS, Jarman SN, Taberlet P (2012) Who is eating what: diet assessment using next generation sequencing. Molecular Ecology 21: 1931–1950.

Deagle BE, Jones FC, Chan YF, Absher DM, Kingsley DM, Reimchen TE (2012) Population genomics of parallel phenotypic evolution in stickleback across stream–lake ecological transitions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279: 1277-1286.

Deagle BE, Chiaradia A, McInnes J, Jarman SN (2010) Pyrosequencing faecal DNA to determine diet of little penguins: is what goes in what comes out? Conservation Genetics 11: 2039-2048.

Deagle BE, Kirkwood R, Jarman SN (2009) Analysis of Australian fur seal diet by pyrosequencing prey DNA in faeces. Molecular Ecology 18: 2022–2038.

Deagle BE, Gales NJ, Hindell MA (2008) Variability in foraging behaviour of chick-rearing macaroni penguins Eudyptes chrysolophus and its relation to diet. Marine Ecology Progress Series 359: 295–309.

Deagle BE, Gales NJ, Evans K, Jarman SN, Trebilco R, Robinson S, Hindell MA (2007) Studying seabird diet through genetic analysis of faeces: a case study on macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus). PLOS ONE 2: e831.