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Nicholas Clark



BSc GDipSc PhD


PhD Alumnus


Contact details


School of Veterinary Sciences

University of Queensland, Gatton Campus

Gatton, Queensland, Australia

Email: nicholas.j.clark1214"at"




I completed my undergraduate studies with a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where I developed an interest in marine science. I then came to Australia, where I completed a Postgraduate Diploma at James Cook University, with a minor research project focusing on population genetics and ontogenetic habitat shifts in butterflyfishes. This project introduced me to molecular techniques, which I am now using to study host-pathogen interactions.


My research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary interactions between birds and their blood parasites (malaria and related parasites) in the south Pacific region. A central theme of my research is to identify spatial patterns that can influence the way that birds and their parasites co-evolove. My project utilises extensive sample collections gathered from wild birds across many regions in the south Pacific. I also collaborate with a number of avian disease ecologists in Australia and overseas to broaden the scope of my research.


Research Keywords


Avian malaria, Haemoproteus, Plasmodium, host-pathogen coevolution, biogeography, parasitology





  • Olsson-Pons, S, Clark, NJ, Ishtiaq, F and Clegg, SM. (2015) Differences in host species relationships and biogeographical influences produce contrasting patterns of prevalence, community composition and genetic structure in two genera of avian malaria parasites in southern Melanesia. Journal of Animal Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12354

  • Clark, NJ, Adlard, RD and Clegg, SM. (2015) Molecular and morphological characterization of Haemoproteus (Parahaemoproteus) ptilotis, a parasite infecting Australian honeyeaters (Meliphagidae), with remarks on prevalence and potential cryptic speciation. Parasitology Research DOI: 10.1007/s00436-015-4380-8


  • Clark, NJ and Clegg, SM. (2014) The influence of vagrant hosts and weather patterns on the colonisation and persistence of blood parasites in an island bird. Journal of Biogeography DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12454

  • Clark, NJ, Adlard, RD and Clegg, SM. (2014) First evidence of avian malaria in Capricorn Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis chlorocephalus) on Heron Island. The Sunbird 44: 1-11.

  • Clark, NJ, Clegg, SM and Lima, MR. A review of global diversity in avian haemosporidians (Plasmodium and HaemoproteusHaemosporida): new insights from molecular data. International Journal for Parasitology DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.01.004


  • Clark, NJ and Russ, GR. Ontogenetic shifts in the habitat associations of butterflyfishes (F. Chaetodontidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes DOI: 10.1007/s10641-011-9964-2


Awards and honors



  • National Geographic Scientific Research Grant: S. Clegg, N. Clark, F.   Cugny. “Avian malaria in southern Melanesian birds.” (US$20250)

  • Griffith University Environmental Futures Centre Student Symposium, “Do wind-borne vagrants drive temporal variation in parasite prevalence in an island bird?” Highly Commended Mid-PhD Award. (AU$100)


  • BirdLife Australia Stuart Leslie Bird Research Award: N. Clark. “Investigating avian malaria lineage distribution, diversity and host-specificity in SE QLD.” (AU$3750)

  • Birds Queensland Research Award: N. Clark. “Investigating avian malaria lineage distribution, diversity and host specificity in SE QLD.” (AU$5000)

  • The Research Coordination Network for Haemosporida of Terrestrial Vertebrates: Travel and accommodation award for participation in 2nd Annual Malaria RCN Workshop, Virginia USA. (US$2000)

  • Griffith University Environmental Futures Centre Student Symposium, “Avian malaria in Australian and south Pacific bird communities” 2nd Place in the Pre-Confirmation Category. (AU$200)





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