Faculty of Science and Technology

Dr Meagan Dewar - Research

Graduate research supervisions

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctoral Thesis: Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Seabirds
Supervisors: Dr Stuart Smith (Deakin University) and Assoc. Prof John Arnould (Deakin University)

Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours)
Honours Thesis: Gastrointestinal Microflora of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) at St Kilda Breakwater, Victoria
Supervisor: Dr Carol Scarpaci (Victoria University)

Current research projects

Penguin Microbes – Using metagenomics to explore the microbial community of sub-Antarctic and temperate penguin species and to identify key metabolic and functional pathways of the microbiome.

Microbiome of artificial vs. natural penguin burrows and their implications for breeding success – Looking at the influence of nest and soil type on nest microbiome of little penguins and if these microbial communities influence breeding success.

Microbiome of Sharks –In collaboration with Department of Primary Industries in NSW, we are exploring the metagenome of sharks to understand the differences in community composition due to geographical location and age and to further understand the functional role of microbes in sharks.

Research publications/conferences

Peer-Reviewed

  1. Dewar, M.L., Arnould, J.P.Y., Allnutt, T., Crowley, T., Dann, P., Reynolds, J., Smith, S.C. (2017). Microbiota of Little Penguins and Short-Tailed Shearwaters during Development. PLoS One 12(8):e0183117
  2. Diaz, J.I., Fusaro, B, Vidal, V., González-Acuña, D, Schneider Costa, E., Dewar, M.L., Gray, R., Power, M. Miller, G., Blyton, M., Vanstreels, R., Barbosa, A. Marcroparasites in Antarctic Penguins Parasitology Research Monographs Volume 9:183-204
  3. Barbosa, A., Schneider Costa, E., Dewar, M.L., González-Acuña, D., Gray, R. Power, M., Vanstreels, R.E.T. (2015). Antarctic Wildlife Diseases. Antarctic Environments Portal. https://www.environments.aq/information-summaries/antarctic-wildlife-diseases/
  4. Dewar, M.L. Arnould, J.P.Y. Trathan, P. Dann, P. Smith, S.C. (2014). Influence of Fasting During Moult on the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Penguins. PLoS One 9(6): e99996.
  5. Dewar, M.L. Arnould, J.P.Y. Dann, P. Smith, S.C. (2014). Inter-Specific Variations in the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Procellariiformes. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 89: 47–55.
  6. Smith, S.C. Chalker, A. Dewar, M.L. Arnould, J.P.Y (2013). Age-related differences revealed in Australian fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus gut microbiota. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 86(2): 246-255
  7. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J.P.Y, Dann, P, Trathan, P, Groscolas, R and Smith, S.C (2013). Inter-specific variations in the gastrointestinal microbiota in penguins. Microbiology Open 1(2): 195-204
  8. Dewar, M.L, and Scarpaci, C (2011). Microbial implications associated with stomach flushing of Little Penguins. The Victorian Naturalist 128 (4), 2011, 128-131

Conference Presentations

Oral

  1. Dewar, M.L., (2017). Microbiome of Seabirds. APECS Oceania Symposium: Addressing Future Antarctic Challenges from an Oceania Perspective. Melbourne, Australia. 18th -19th September 2017
  2. Dewar, M.L. (2016). Microbiome of penguins. IPECS Penguin Careers Workshop. Cape Town, South Africa 2nd -4th September 2016
  3. Dewar, M.L. (2016). Microbiome of Marine Wildlife. IV APECS-Brazil Symposium: Legacy and Perspectives of the Madrid Protocol: 25-years of history and the next 25-years Invited Speaker) 27th -29th July 2016.
  4. Dewar, M.L., Arnould, J.P.Y., Krause, L., Reynolds, J., Dann, P., Smith, S.C. (2015). Microbiota of Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters during Development. 2nd World Seabird Conference, Cape Town, South Africa 26th – 30th October 2015
  5. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J.P.Y, Dann, P, Trathan, P, Smith, S.C. (2012). Variations in the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Moulting and Non-Moulting Penguins. International Polar Year: Knowledge to Action. Montreal, Canada. 22nd -27th April 2012
  6. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J.P.Y, Trathan, P, Smith, S. (2011) Microbial Ecology of Penguins in Extreme Polar Regions. CAREX Life in Extreme Environments. Dublin, Ireland 18th -20th October 2011.
  7. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J, Dann, P, Trathan, P, Groscolas, R, Smith, S.C. (2010). Exploring the gastrointestinal microbiota of king and little penguins using high throughput sequencing. (Awarded best presentation). 7th Exercise and Nutrition Sciences HDR Student Symposium, Deakin University.
  8. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J.P.Y, Trathan, P, Groscolas, R, Smith, S.C. (2010). Gastrointestinal microbiota of King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) and the Influence of geographical separation. 7th International Penguin Conference. Boston, USA 30th August – 3rd September 2010

Poster

  1. Barbosa, A., Vanstreels, R., Gonzalez-Acuna, D., Blyton, M., Costa, E., Dewar, M.L., Grey, R., Miller, G., Power, M. (2016). Current knowledge of Antarctic wildlife pathogens: Identification of gaps and opportunities for research. Australian Society for Microbiology Bi-State Conference 25-26th November 2016.
  2. Barbosa, A., Vanstreels, R., Gonzalez-Acuna, D., Blyton, M., Costa, E., Dewar, M.L., Grey, R., Miller, G., Power, M. (2016). Current knowledge of Antarctic wildlife pathogens: Identification of gaps and opportunities for research. Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research Open Science Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 22nd – 26th August 2016.
  3. Barbosa, A., Vanstreels, R., Gonzalez-Acuna, D., Blyton, M., Costa, E., Dewar, M.L., Grey, R., Miller, G., Power, M. (2016). A review of the parasites of Antarctic Albatrosses and Petrels. 6th International Albatross and Petrel Conference, Barcelona 19th - 23rd September 2016.
  4. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J.P.Y, Dann, P, Trathan, P, Groscolas, R, Smith, S. (2010) Changes in the gastrointestinal microbiota during fasting in penguins. 1st World Seabird Conference. Victoria, British Columbia 7th -11th of September 2010.
  5. Dewar, M.L, Arnould, J.P.Y, Smith, S. (2009) Gastrointestinal Tract of Little penguins. Seabird Group 10th International Seabird Conference. Brugge, Belgium 27th – 30th March 2009.
  6. Dewar, M. L, Scarpaci, C. (2007). Could the current stomach flushing technique be a vehicle for transferring pathogens from one penguin to another? 6th International Penguin Conference, Hobart, Australia 3rd – 7th September 2007.

Laboratory members

  • Cassandra Briggs (Honours)

Honours and PhD projects available. If interested, please contact Dr Dewar.

Professional memberships and associations

  • APECS Oceania (Executive Committee)
  • International Penguin Early Career Scientists (IPECS) (Executive Committee)
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) (International Council Member)
  • Marman (Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Discussion)
  • Expert Group for Birds and Marine Mammals (EGBAMM)
  • Health Monitoring of Birds and Marine Mammals Working Group (HMBMM)
  • Australasian Seabird Group
  • Birds Australia
  • Australian Society for Microbiology
  • British Ecological Society

Potential honours and PhD projects

  • Shark Microbiome Project
  • Rapid In-field Disease Surveillance of wildlife

Internal/external web links