Dr. Katharina Peters

Katharina Peters, Dr.

Tel.: +41 44 635 54 33




Research Interest

I am a behavioural ecologist with a particular fascination for marine mammals. My research interests lie at the interface of animal behaviour and distribution, population ecology and evolutionary biology and how to apply this information to better manage the conservation of wild populations and their associated environments. Addressing these questions requires quantitative and interdisciplinary approaches. Thus, I use an integrative approach involving field-intensive ecological and behavioural work coupled with ecological modelling and molecular analyses.


Llewelyn J, Strona G, McDowell MC, Johnson CN, Peters KJ, Stouffer DB, de Visser SN, Saltré F, Bradshaw CJA (2021). Sahul’s megafauna were vulnerable to plant-community changes due to their position in the trophic network. Ecography. https//doi.org/10.1111/ecog.06089

Peters KJ, Saltré F, Friedrich T, Jacobs Z, Wood R, McDowell MC, Ulm S, Bradshaw CJA (2021). Addendum: FosSahul 2.0, an updated database for the Late Quaternary fossil records of Sahul. Scientific Data 8 (133).https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-021-00918-7

Parra GJ, Bilgmann K, Peters KJ, Möller LM (2021). Abundance and potential biological removal of short-beaked common dolphins subject to fishery-impacts in South Australian Waters: implications for conservation and management. Frontiers in Marine Science 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.617075

15. Peters KJ & Stockin KA (2021). Cetacean sighting records in the New Caledonia Basin, Tasman Sea, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research.1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288330.2020.1867201

14. Peters KJ, Bury SJ, Betty EL, Parra GJ, Tezanos Pinto G, Stockin KA (2020). Foraging ecology of the common dolphin Delphinus delphis revealed by stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 652:173-186. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13482

13. Common LK, O’Connor JA, Dudaniec RY, Peters KJ, Kleindorfer S (2020). Evidence for rapid downward fecundity selection in an ectoparasite (Philornis downsi) with earlier host mortality in Darwin’s finches. Journal of Evolutionary Biology33:524-533. https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13588>

12. Peters KJ, Saltré F, Friedrich T, Jacobs Z, Wood R, McDowell MC, Ulm S, Bradshaw CJA (2019). FosSahul 2.0, an updated database for the Late Quaternary fossil records of Sahul. Scientific Data 6 (272). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-019-0267-3.

11. Saltré F, Chadoeuf J, Peters KJ, Friedrich T, McDowell, MC, Timmermann A, Ulm S, Bradshaw CJA (2019). Climate-human interaction associated with southeast Australian megafauna-extinction patterns. Nature Communications 10:5311. https://doi.org/ 10.1038/s41467-019-13277-0

10. Shabani F, Ahmadi M, Peters KJ, Haberle S, Champreux A, Saltré F, Bradshaw CJA (2019). Climate-driven shifts in the distribution of koala browse species from the Last Interglacial to the near future. Ecography42:1587-1599. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04530

9. Kleindorfer S, Custance G, Peters KJ, Sulloway FJ (2019). Introduced parasite changes host phenotype, mating signal and hybridisation risk: Philornis downsi effects on Darwin’s finch song. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286:1904. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.0461

8. Bilgmann K, Parra GJ, Holmes L, Peters KJ, Jonsen ID, Möller LM (2019). Abundance estimates and habitat preferences of bottlenose dolphins reveal the importance of two gulfs in South Australia. Scientific Reports 9:8044. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44310-3

7. Peters KJ, Evans C, Aguirre JD, Kleindorfer S (2019). Genetic admixture predicts parasite intensity: evidence for increased hybrid performance in Darwin’s tree finches. Royal Society Open Science 6 (4): 181616. https://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.181616

6.Peters KJ & Kleindorfer S (2018). Avian population trends in Scalesia forest on Floreana Island (2004-2013): Acoustical surveys cannot detect hybrids of Darwin's Tree Finches (Camarhynchus spp.). Bird Conservation International 28: 319-335. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959270916000630

5.Peters KJ, Myers S, Dudaniec RY, O’Connor JA, Kleindorfer S (2017). Females drive asymmetrical introgressive hybridization from rare to common species in Darwin’s tree finches. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30 (11): 1940-1952. https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13167

4. Kleindorfer S, Peters KJ, Hohl L, Sulloway F (2016). Flight behavior of an introduced parasite affects its Galapagos Island hosts: Philornis downsi and Darwin’s finches. In: Biological Invasions and Animal Behavior (Eds. J. Weis and D. Sol), Cambridge University Press, pp. 158-179.

3.Peters KJ & Kleindorfer S (2015). Divergent foraging behavior in a hybrid zone: Darwin’s tree finches (Camarhynchus spp.) on Floreana Island. Current Zoology 61 (1): 181–190. https://doi.org/10.1093/czoolo/61.1.181

2. Kleindorfer S, Peters KJ, Custance G, Dudaniec RY, O’Connor JA (2014). Changes in Philornis infestation behavior threaten Darwin’s finch survival. Current Zoology 60 (4): 542–550. https://doi.org/10.1093/czoolo/60.4.542

1. Peters KJ, Parra GJ, Skuza PP, Möller LM (2013). Effects of boat based tourism on the behavior, response and group structure of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins. Marine Mammal Science 29 (4): E484–E497. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12003