Position: Postdoctoral researcher
Field: Zoology
Organisation: University of Otago

Dr Kelly Hare is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago. She specialises in reptile conservation, physiology and reproduction.

The life of a scientist is as diverse as the questions we aim to answer – it is rarely static and always stimulating.

Kelly has always had an avid interest in animals, and as a child, she kept a multitude of strange and wonderful pets, including frogs, turkeys, chickens, kōura and skinks. Her parents supported this interest by providing books on animals, taking her into the wilds of New Zealand to experience nature first hand and encouraging Kelly to try multiple placements at local vet clinics. In fact, Kelly always thought she would become a vet, but at the last minute, she changed her mind and enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington to undertake a science degree in geology and biology.

In her second year of undergraduate studies, Kelly had the opportunity to assist a professor with his research on native frogs. This was a pivotal moment in her life as Kelly realised that research was not only an excellent excuse to work in the outdoors, but also provided a stimulating intellectual environment, while aiding conservation. Fascinated with the weird and wonderful adaptations of New Zealand’s reptiles and amphibians, Kelly went on to complete a master’s degree and PhD project at Victoria University, studying the reproductive biology and cold-adaptation of lizards.

Kelly is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Otago, where she undertakes full-time research. Her current project involves developing conservation methods using a common species of lizard, in the hope that these can then be applied to threatened species. In particular, Kelly is interested in which captive husbandry regimes (diet and housing) result in the healthiest offspring for future translocations.

Kelly’s interests outside of science include travel and exploration, rock climbing, woodwork and solving problems.

Useful links

Kelly is secretary of the Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles in New Zealand. Visit their website for more information.

This article is based on information current in 2010.

    Published 17 December 2009