Dr Susan Miller
Dr Susan Miller
Susan is broadly interested in the application of science to conservation issues with a special interest in genetics. Born and raised in small town Canada, she was fortunate to spend much of her childhood outdoors in nature. Susan enjoys bird watching and recently qualified as a bird ringer. She has a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Guelph and an MSc from Laurentian University in Sudbury. In her MSc she investigated the health effects of radiation on caribou cells. Following her MSc she worked for the Canadian government as a radiation biologist. Looking to get more involved in conservation activities, she volunteered with the Earthwatch Penguin project on Robben Island, fell in love with Africa and decided to change career tacks. Several more volunteer expeditions later, this time studying large mammals on small reserves in South Africa, and a year working in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, she was ready to tackle a doctorate in conservation. Susan completed her doctorate in Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Techology under the supervision of renowned lion biologist, Dr. Paul Funston. She investigated the conservation challenges of managing lions on small reserves. This included significant genetics work using microsatellites to determine the genetic health of these populations. She also developed several tools to assist managers and is actively involved in the Lion Management Forum (LiMF) – a group formed by and for managers of lions on small reserves. She followed her doctoral studies with a two year postdoctoral fellowship at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pretoria where she studied the genetics of colour variants in the game industry.
Her postdoctoral research fellowship started at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute in early 2017. She is applying her genetics skills to resolve some avian systematics, mostly in the lark family. She is hosted by Profs Peter Ryan and Paulette Bloomer (University of Pretoria).
Recent peer-reviewed publications
Pekor, A., Miller, J.R., Flyman, M.V., Kasiki, S., Kesch, M.K., Miller, S.M., Uiseb, K., Van der Merve, V. and Lindsey, P.A. 2019. Fencing Africa's protected areas: Costs, benefits, and management issues. Biological Conservation 229: 67-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.10.030