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Wildlife Forensics

Hear about the insects and animals helping to solve crimes, and the cutting-edge techniques used by wildlife detectives

Did you know that maggots in a corpse can tell you the person’s time of death? Or that genetic fingerprinting of smuggled animals can help fight illegal trade in wildlife? Or that, thanks to Australian research, the DNA of 200-year-old koala specimens is revealing the effects of human activity?

Join New Scientist and UNSW Science for a two-hour evening lecture and hear about the insects and animals that are helping to solve crimes, and the cutting-edge techniques used by wildlife detectives.


  • Bryan Lessard – postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO

Bryan Lessard, also known as “Bry the Fly Guy”, will discuss the latest in forensic entomology – the use of insects in legal investigations. Not only is he passionate about flies and maggots, Bry the Fly Guy is famous for naming a newly discovered horsefly with a golden abdomen after the singer Beyoncé.

  • Rebecca Johnson – director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, and co-chief investigator of the Koala Genome Consortium

Rebecca Johnson will discuss her work as a wildlife forensic scientist. Originally a geneticist, she helps police and border protection agents piece together DNA clues and track down perpetrators of cruelty against wildlife. She will also talk about her research sequencing the koala genome for the first time, and what it might tell us.

Part of Sydney Science Festival 2017, presented by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.



University of New South Wales
High Street, Kensington
Leighton Hall, John Niland Scienta Building, UNSW, Kensington campus, NSW 2052


Thursday 17 August 2017 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Doors open at 6pm


Standard price ticket: $39.00
Student ticket: $29.00

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Hashtag: #nslive

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