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Dr Sharon Appleyard

Director Australian National Fish Collection


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Sharon has a national and international reputation in population and molecular genetics as applied to wild fisheries stock assessments (e.g., Patagonian toothfish, gulper sharks, ling, orange roughy, black cod, yellowfin and bigeye tuna) and in selective breeding programs for aquaculture (i.e., oysters, greenlip, blacklip and hybrid abalone). Sharon’s molecular expertise includes population genetic and genomic structure and connectivity assessments, molecular species identifications through barcoding and amplicon meta-barcoding and microbial community delineation based on DNA sequencing, microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), animal breeding, DNA parentage and assignment analyses and quantitative genetics. Sharon has assessed the utility of microbial communities in shellfish aquaculture using next generation sequencing (NGS) and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analyses (ARISA). More recently, Sharon is currently leading several environmental DNA (eDNA) projects for fishes and sharks and high-throughput amplicon sequencing for low input & degraded DNA from museum specimens and from ethanol preservative liquid. Additionally, Sharon has extensive experience in marine fish and invertebrate species identifications and DNA barcoding for a range of vertebrate and invertebrate marine species and micro-algae. Sharon currently curates an extensive BarCode of Life Database (BOLD) reference sequence library and utilises this resource for integrated taxonomy and metabarcode analyses of adult and larval fishes and molecular identification of fish eggs. Sharon has recently taken on the team lead/Directorship of the Australian National Fish Collection and as part of this role, is working closely on the National Biodiversity DNA Library Marine Vertebrate Campaign.

Current Roles

  • Senior Research Scientist
    Population genetics and connectivity in fisheries

  • Senior Research Scientist
    DNA barcoding in fishes

  • Senior Research Scientist
    Molecular species identifications through eDNA analyses

Academic Qualifications

  • 2003

    Grad Cert. Rural Science (UNE)

  • 1998

    Doctor of Philosophy (QUT)

  • 1992

    B. Applied Science (Hons) QUT

Professional Experiences

  • 1998-current

    Molecular Geneticist CSIRO

We have publications by Dr Sharon Appleyard