Dr Peter Adams
B.Sc. (Hons) Ph.D.

Lecturer Veterinary Public Health

Teaching area

Veterinary Public Health, Production Animal Welfare, Meat Processing Hygiene and Saftey, Pest Species Welfare and Management

VET442 Animal Systems III

VET530 Production Animal Health and Management – Veterinary Public Health

ANS106 Animal and Human Bioethics

Research areas

My research focus is on applied ecology, with the aim of improving our understanding of the physiology, behaviour and impact of vertebrate pests to inform and improve current conservation and pest management strategies.  For example, quantifying the impact that pest species have on native wildlife and ecosystems enables us to guide appropriate management and conservation decisions with regard to the desired outcome(s).  Since applied research is a two way street, we also use conservation or management issues to guide our research, and students are encouraged to select projects that are identified by industry and government as issues of concern for them.

Current projects

Feral species management: ameliorating the impacts of invasive species.
Murdoch is actively involved in collaborative research with both state and community management agencies on a number of projects to investigate and quantify pest species impacts on native wildlife and the environment.

Quantifying feral pig impacts in the northern jarrah forest:  We are engaged in research examining the abundance and digging impacts of feral pigs on different landscapes.  In addition we are also involved in trialling the efficacy of alternate control measures for managing feral pig populations in the southwest forests.  Previous research has investigated the potential for feral pigs to harbour zoonotic diseases of public health importance.  Under the Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management, we have examined the role of pigs in disseminating the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi.

The team involved in this research includes: Robert Huston (DEC), Jeff Doust (Water Corp), Trish Fleming, Julie Summers, Louise Pallant, Andrew Li, Giles Hardy, Nari Williams, Michael Crone, Peter Adams.

Aerial deployment of infrared sensors to detect pest species:  With funding assistance from the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP), Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), Warren Catchments Council (WCC) and in conjunction with Department of Agriculture WA (DAFWA), South Coast Natural Resource Management (SCNRM) and Northcliffe Feral Pig Eradication Group (NFPEG) we are engaged in developing the use of infrared sensors for detecting pest species throughout southwest Western Australia.  This research is currently examining the detectability of feral pigs beneath the forest canopy and the relationship between surface body heat and environmental temperatures in both pest and native mammal species.

The team involved in this research includes: Brad Barton (DEC), Mark Sewell (WCC), Jason Dearle (DAFWA), Matt Kennewell (SCNRM), Wally Bettink (NFPEG), Peter Adams.

Fox predation on freshwater turtles:  Populations of freshwater turtles are susceptible to terrestrial predators.  We have examined the impact of predation on oblong turtle (Chelodina oblonga) populations in lakes Chittering and Needonga near Bindoon.  Foxes were the only species documented to be predating this turtle population (both adults and nests).  Fox predation has resulted in an age and sex bias within these oblong turtle populations with very few breeding females and no recruitment being observed.

The team involved in this research includes: Stuart Dawson, Robert Huston (DEC), Trish Fleming, Peter Adams.

Feral predators:  During culls carried out in February and March 2010 (Red Card for the Red Fox 2010, coordinated by the Department of Agriculture WA), we collected samples from over 500 red foxes and 50 feral cats, covering a total of 18 geographic locations. These samples were examined to determine the animals’ diet (from stomach contents), parasite load (from analysis of the intestines and ectoparasites) and skull morphology (which indicates, amongst other information, the animal’s age).

The team involved in this research includes: Heather Crawford, Narelle Dybing, Jesse Forbes-Harper, Gunn Kaewmongkol, Shannon Dundas, Peter Adams, Natalie Warburton, Mike Calver, Trish Fleming.

The Red Card for the Red Fox is a coordinated fox and rabbit control program that encourages farmers to work together to achieve maximum impact on pest numbers.

Do feral predators influence the ecology of quokkas?  Quokkas are present on the mainland where they are vulnerable to feral predators and habitat loss. We have a number of projects currently running examining the ecology of these marsupials, to determine factors that may influence their population status and health.  We are also working with quokkas on Rottnest Island to determine diet and behavioural responses to the presence of tourists.

The team involved in this research includes: Shannon Dundas, Pedro Martinez Perez, Holly Poole, Teele Worrell, Bill Bateman (University of Pretoria), Halina Kobryn, Trish Fleming, Peter Adams.

Research Projects for Prospective Students

Can we increase bait uptake by foxes?

In Western Australia, baits containing 1080 poison are widely used throughout forested areas and conservation reserves for fox control.  Despite well-established long term baiting programs, the fate of deployed baits is largely unknown.   In a recent study around quokka populations, we found that only 1% of monitored baits were taken by foxes, and the rest were taken by native (‘non-target’) species.  This project will investigate different methods to increase the attractiveness of baits to foxes, while decreasing uptake by non-target species.

If you are interested in doing this project for your honours, please contact Shannon Dundas (S.Dundas@murdoch.edu.au).


Habitat utilisation by western brush wallabies.

The western brush wallaby (Macropus irma) (aka black-gloved wallaby) is an enigmatic macropod species endemic to the southwest of Western Australia.  Historically, the western brush wallaby was very common post European settlement, however extensive vegetation clearing throughout the southwest for agricultural use as well as the introduction of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) lead to a decline in abundance.  Since the implementation of broad scale fox baiting programmes in southwest WA, in particular Western Shield, western brush wallaby numbers have increased.  However we still know very little about the ecology, survival and persistence of this species within the intensively managed northern jarrah forest.  This project will provide information on the movement patterns and habitat requirements of western brush wallabies in the northern jarrah forest.

If you are interested in doing this project for your honours, please contact Peter Adams (P.Adams@murdoch.edu.au).


Doctoral and masters supervisions


Honours students: fulltime unless indicated (P/T part-time):
2012 Stuart Dawson: “foxes and tortoises”
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University.
Supervisors: Peter Adams, Trish Fleming
2012 Emma Ryan: “Reptile responses to leaf litter abundance in the wandoo”
School of Biological Sciences, Murdoch University.
Supervisors: Michael Bunce, James Haile, Peter Adams
2010 Narelle Dybing: “Intestinal parasites of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cats (Felis catus) in southwest Western Australia”
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University.
Supervisors: Peter Adams, Trish Fleming
2010 Heather Crawford: “Diet of the red fox and feral cat in southwest Western Australia”
Department of Biological Sciences, Murdoch University.
Supervisors: Michael Calver, Peter Adams, Trish Fleming
2010 Jesse Forbes-Harper: “Ecomorphology of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in southwest Western Australia”
Department of Biological Sciences, Murdoch University.
Supervisors: Natalie Warburton, Peter Adams, Trish Fleming



Doctoral students:
2011- Narelle Dybing: “Parasites and diet of feral cats and rodents in Western Australia and its’ offshore islands”
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University
Supervisors: Peter Adams, Caroline Bath, Peter Irwin, Dave Algar
Supported by Department of Environment and Conservation
2009- Shannon Dundas: “Feral pig and fox impacts on quokka populations in southwest Western Australia”
Department of Biological Sciences, Murdoch University
Supervisors: Trish Fleming, Giles Hardy, Peter Adams
2007-12 Andrew Li: “Role of the feral pig (Sus scrofa) in the dissemination of Phytophthora cinnamomi in south-western Australia”
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management, Murdoch University
Supervisors: Peter Adams, Nari Williams, Stan Fenwick
Supported by Australian Research Council
2007- Louise Pallant: “Application of molecular techniques for assessing the distribution and transmission of pathogens of feral pigs within urban water catchments”
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University.
Supervisors: Peter Adams, Stan Fenwick
Supported by Australian Research Council




  • Adams, P., Thompson, R., (2002),Characterization of a novel genotype of Giardia from a Quenda (Isoodon obesulus) from Western Australia,In: Giardia: The cosmopolitan parasite, CAB International, pages 287 to 291.


  • Dybing, N., Jacobson, C., Irwin, P., Algar, D., Adams, P., (2018), Challenging the dogma of the Island Syndrome: A study of helminth parasites of feral cats and black rats on Christmas Island, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 25, 1, pages 99 - 118.
  • Dawson, S., Adams, P., Moseby, K., Waddington, K., Kobryn, H., Bateman, P., Fleming, P., (2018), Peak hour in the bush; linear anthropogenic clearings funnel predator and prey species, Austral Ecology, 43, , pages 159 - 171.
  • Dundas, S., Adams, P., Fleming, P., (2018), Population monitoring of an endemic macropod, the quokka (Setonix brachyurus), in the northern jarrah forest, Western Australia, Australian Mammalogy, 40, , pages 26 - 35.
  • Kreplins, T., Kennedy, M., Dundas, S., Adams, P., Bateman, P., Fleming, P., (2018), Corvid interference with Canid Pest Ejectors in the southern rangelands of Western Australia, Ecological Management & Restoration, 19, 2, pages 169 - 172.
  • Dybing, N., Jacobson, C., Irwin, P., Algar, D., Adams, P., (2017), Leptospira Species in Feral Cats and Black Rats from Western Australia and Christmas Island, Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 17, 5, pages 319 - 324.
  • Forbes-Harper, J., Crawford, H., Dundas, S., Warburton, N., Adams, P., Bateman, P., Calver, M., Fleming, P., (2017), Diet and bite force in red foxes: ontogenetic and sex differences in an invasive carnivore, Journal of Zoology, 303, , pages 54 - 63.
  • Allsop, S., Dundas, S., Adams, P., Kreplins, T., Bateman, P., Fleming, P., (2017), Reduced efficacy of baiting programs for invasive species: some mechanisms and management implications, Pacific Conservation Biology: a journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region, 23, , pages 240 - 257.
  • Hampton, J., Edwards, G., Cowled, B., Forsyth, D., Hyndman, T., Perry, A., Miller, C., Adams, P., Collins, T., (2017), Assessment of animal welfare for helicopter shootingof feral horses, Wildlife Research, , , pages -.
  • Hampton, J., Adams, P., Forsyth, D., Cowled, B., Stuart, I., Hyndman, T., Collins, T., (2016), Improving Animal Welfare in Wildlife Shooting: The Importance of Projectile Energy, Wildlife Society bulletin, , , pages -.
  • Dybing, N., Jacobson, C., Irwin, P., Algar, D., Adams, P., (2016), GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST ABSENCE OF TRYPANOSOMES IN FERAL CATS AND BLACK RATS FROM CHRISTMAS ISLAND AND WESTERN AUSTRALIA, Parasitology Open, 2, e4, pages 1 - 5.
  • Dawson, S., Crawford, H., Huston, R., Adams, P., Fleming, P., (2016), How to catch red foxes red handed: identifying predation of freshwater turtles and nests, Wildlife Research, 43, 8, pages 615 - 622.
  • Hampton, J., Hyndman, T., Laurence, M., Perry, A., Adams, P., Collins, T., (2016), Animal welfare and the use of procedural documents: limitations and refinement, Wildlife Research, 43, 7, pages 599 - 603.
  • Hampton, J., Robertson, H., Adams, P., Hyndman, T., Collins, T., (2016), An animal welfare assessment framework for helicopter darting: a case study with a newly developed method for feral horses, Wildlife Research, 43, 5, pages 429 - 437.
  • Dybing, N., Jacobson, C., Irwin, P., Algar, D., Adams, P., (2016), Bartonella Species Identified in Rodent and Feline Hosts from Island and Mainland Western Australia, Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 16, 4, pages 238 - 244.
  • Li, A., Crone, M., Adams, P., Fenwick, S., Hardy, G., Williams, N., (2014), The Microscopic Examination of Phytophthora cinnamomi in Plant Tissues Using Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization, Journal of Phytopathology, 162, 43080, pages 747 - 757.
  • Dawson, S., Adams, P., Huston, R., Fleming, P., (2014), Environmental factors influence nest excavation by foxes, Journal of Zoology, 294, 2, pages 104 - 113.
  • Cuttell, L., Gomez-Morales, A., Cookson, B., Adams, P., Reid, S., Vanderlinde, P., Jackson, L., Gray, C., Traub, R., (2014), Evaluation of ELISA coupled with Western blot as a surveillance tool for Trichinella infection in wild boar (Sus scrofa), Veterinary Parasitology, 199, 42828, pages 179 - 190.
  • Dundas, S., Adams, P., Fleming, P., (2014), First in, first served: uptake of 1080 poison fox baits in south-west Western Australia, Wildlife Research, 41, 2, pages 117 - 126.
  • Li, A., Williams, N., Fenwick, S., Hardy, G., Adams, P., (2014), Potential for dissemination of Phytophthora cinnamomi by feral pigs via ingestion of infected plant material, Biological Invasions, 16, 4, pages 765 - 774.
  • Dybing, N., Fleming, P., Adams, P., (2013), Environmental conditions predict helminth prevalence in red foxes in Western Australia, International Journal for Parasitology, 2, , pages 165 - 172.
  • Kaewmongkol, G., Kaemongkol, S., Owen, H., Fleming, P., Adams, P., Ryan, U., Irwin, P., Fenwick, S., (2011), Candidatus Bartonella antechini: A novel Bartonella species detected in fleas and ticks from the yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes), an Australian marsupial, Veterinary Microbiology, 149, 42828, pages 517 - 521.
  • Kaewmongkol, G., Kaewmongkol, S., Fleming, P., Adams, P., Ryan, U., Irwin, P., Fenwick, S., (2011), Zoonotic bartonella species in fleas and blood from red foxes in australia, Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11, 12, pages 1549 - 1553.
  • Kaewmongkol, G., Kaewmongkol, S., Burmej, H., Bennett, M., Fleming, P., Adams, P., Wayne, A., Ryan, U., Irwin, P., Fenwick, S., (2011), Diversity of Bartonella species detected in arthropod vectors from animals in Australia, Comparative Immunology, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases: the international journal for medical and veterinary researchers and practitioners, 34, 5, pages 411 - 417.
  • Kaewmongkol, G., Kaewmongkol, S., McInnes, L., Burmej, H., Bennett, M., Adams, P., Ryan, U., Irwin, P., Fenwick, S., (2011), Genetic characterization of flea-derived Bartonella species from native animals in Australia suggests host-parasite co-evolution, Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 11, 8, pages 1868 - 1872.
  • Li, A., Adams, P., Abdad, M., Fenwick, S., (2010), High prevalence of Rickettsia gravesii sp. nov. in Amblyomma triguttatum collected from feral pigs, Veterinary Microbiology, 146, 1-2, pages 59 - 62.
  • Phillips, N., La, T., Adams, P., Harland, B., Fenwick, S., Hampson, D., (2009), Detection of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Lawsonia intracellularis and Brachyspira pilosicoli in feral pigs, Veterinary Microbiology, 134, , pages 294 - 299.
  • Austen, J., Jefferies, R., Friend, J., Ryan, U., Adams, P., Reid, S., (2009), Morphological and molecular characterization of Trypanosoma copemani n. sp. (Trypanosomatidae) isolated from Gilbert's potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) and quokka (Setonix brachyurus), Parasitology (Cambridge), 136, 7, pages 783 - 792.
  • Adams, P., Elliot, A., Algar, D., Brazell, R., (2008), Gastrointestinal parasites of feral cats from Christmas Island, Australian Veterinary Journal, 86, , pages 60 - 63.
  • Traub, R., Hobbs, R., Adams, P., Behnke, J., Harris, P., Thompson, R., (2007), A case of mistaken identity - reappraisal of the species of canid and felid hookworms (Ancylostoma) present in Australia and India, Parasitology (Cambridge), 134, 1, pages 113 - 119.
  • Adams, P., Monis, P., Elliot, A., Thompson, R., (2004), Cyst morphology and sequence analysis of the small subunit rDNA and ef1[alpha] identifies a novel Giardia genotype in a quenda (Isoodon obesulus) from Western Australia, Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 4, , pages 365 - 370.
  • Harandi, M., Hobbs, R., Adams, P., Mobedi, I., Ryan, U., Thompson, R., (2002), Molecular and morphological characterization of Echinococcus granulosus of human and animal origin in Iran, Parasitology (Cambridge), 125, , pages 367 - 373.
  • O'Handley, R., Olson, M., Fraser, D., Adams, P., Thompson, R., (2000), Prevalence and genotypic characterisation of Giardia in dairy calves from Western Australia and Western Canada, Veterinary Parasitology, 90, , pages 193 - 200.