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Kate Charlton-Robb

Conservation geneticist and dolphin researcher, Monash University

Dr Kate Robb is the Founding Director and Head of Research at the Marine Mammal Foundation. With over 16 years experience researching dolphins across southern Australia, Kate achieved a Bachelor of Science (Hons) with a double major in Freshwater and Marine Ecology and Zoology and a Doctor of Philosophy (Genetics). Her research led to the formal description and naming of a new Australian species of dolphin, the Burrunan dolphin, Tursiops australis. Kate is also currently the President of the Australian Marine Sciences Associations – Victorian branch, a Naturalist with One Ocean Expeditions in Antarctica, an Honorary Fellow at Deakin & Monash University, a Research Associate at Museum Victoria.

As Head of Research at MMF, Kate has instigated and supervised numerous applied marine mammal research projects covering robust population modelling, population genetics, phylogenomics, geospatial mapping, social structure and alliance, acoustics and toxicology. Kate has numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications aimed at informing positive conservation and management outcomes of marine mammals. Kate has been involved with major media coverage from international agencies such as BBCs History Channel, National Geographic, BBC The World, NBC USA; Australian agencies such as The Age, The Australian, Herald-Sun, major TV news networks; children’s shows such as Totally Wild and SCOPE. A highlight of Kate’s career was personally meeting Sir David Attenborough in 2013


  • 2011–present
    Research associate, Museum Victoria
  • 2013–present
    Director, Head of Research, Marine Mammal Foundation


  • 2012 
    Monash University, Doctor of Philosophy
  • 2004 
    Monash University, BSc (Honours)


  • 2016
    Population genetic structure of the Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops australis) in coastal waters of south-eastern Australia: conservation implications, Conservation Genetics
  • 2014
    Comparison of Mercury Contamination in Live and Dead Dolphins from a Newly Described Species, Tursiops australis, PLoS ONE
  • 2013
    Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Integrate Inquiry-Oriented Learning in Undergraduate Science Practicals, International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education
  • 2013
    Providing research-focused work-integrated learning for high achieving science undergraduates, Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education
  • 2011
    Resolving the Trophic Relations of Cryptic Species: An Example Using Stable Isotope Analysis of Dolphin Teeth, PLoS ONE
  • 2011
    ) A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters, PLoS ONE
  • 2008
    Multi-gene evidence for a new bottlenose dolphin species in southern Australia, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
  • 2006
    A note on divergent mtDNA lineages of “bottlenose” dolphins from coastal waters of southern Australia, J. Cetacean Res. Manage