Anicee Lombal

Current research

Seabirds are the most threatened group of marine animals and their status has deteriorated rapidly over recent decades. The principal threats are posed by commercial fisheries and global human disturbance including invasive predators and plastic pollution. To cope with these pressures, seabird species specifically need to maintain high levels of genetic diversity, which is only achievable through a high capacity of dispersal among colonies. However, although most seabird species have the ability to travel long distances, several non-physical factors are associated with restricted movement and spatial structuring of genetic variation among colonies, such as differences in foraging strategies and breeding phenology. The aim of my research is to provide practical case studies to investigate those mechanisms in the context of maximising persistence and resilience of seabird populations.

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During my Ph.D, I used genetic data to elucidate population dynamics and connectivity between colonies of the IUCN listed Vulnerable Providence Petrel Pterodroma solandri, an oceanic seabird restricted to two breeding colonies off eastern Australia; Lord Howe Island and Phillip Island (adjacent to Norfolk Island; see Lombal et al. 2016, Lombal et al. 2020 and Australian Wildlife Magazine – June 2017)

Then I used mitochondrial/nuclear DNA markers and stable isotopes to investigate genetic and foraging differentiation between colonies of Flesh-footed Shearwaters Ardenna carneipes, a migratory seabird species nesting in the southwest Pacific, southern Australia and the Indian Ocean (see Lombal et al. 2017).

In my last chapter, I combined data from more than 80 genetic studies available in the literature to perform a meta-analysis of the factors affecting genetic structuring within seabird colonies. My results suggest that historical factors dominate biotic factors in the mechanisms of genetic differentiation in seabird species (see Lombal et al. 2020 Biological Reviews).

Research experience

During my previous research, I used molecular techniques to investigate genetic connectivity across the range of a North American leaf beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis at the University of Brussels (ULB; see Publication), and to conduct a phylogeny study of a green macroalgae occuring throughout Pacific and Indian Oceans (Halimeda sp.) at the Institute for Research and Development (IRD; see Report – French version) in New Caledonia.

Fascinated by the marine ecosystem, I have been involved in different research projects including the Cetus Project – Cetacean Monitoring in Micronesia – 2014, the 2013 season of observation of Humpback whales Megaloptera novaengliae  with Operation Cetaces (see Field work), a mission of dugong Dugong dugong tracking by telemetry (see Informing dugong conservation 2015, James Cook University), and multiple projects involving seabird species (see Field work).


  • PhD at the University of Tasmania, Australia (2014-2019)
  • Master Ecology of Aquatic Ecosystems at the University of Brussels, Belgium (2010)
  • BSc Biology at the University of Brussels, Belgium (2008). 


Lombal A, Salis AT, Mitchell KJ,  Tennyson AJD, Shepherd LD, Worthy TH, Woehler EJ, Austin J, Burridge CP (2020) Using ancient DNA to quantify losses of genetic and species diversity in seabirds: a case study of Pterodroma petrels from a Pacific island. Biodiversity and Conservation

Lombal A, O’Dwyer J, Friesen V, Woehler E and Burridge CP (2020) Identifying mechanisms of genetic differentiation among populations in vagile species: historical factors dominate genetic differentiation in seabirds. Biological Reviews

Lombal A, Wenner T, Lavers J, Austin J, Woehler E, Hutton I, Burridge CP (2017) Genetic divergence between colonies of Flesh-flooted Shearwater Ardenna carneipes exhibiting different foraging strategies . Conservation Genetics

Lombal A, Wenner T, Carlile N, Austin JJ, Woehler E, Priddel D, Burridge CP (2016) Population genetic and behavioural variation of the two remaining colonies of Providence petrel (Pterodroma solandri) Conservation Genetics

Lombal A, Wenner T, Burridge CP (2015) Assessment of high-resolution melting (HRM) profiles as predictors of microsatellite variation – An example in Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri)Genes & Genomics

Dellicour S, Fearnley S, Lombal A, Heidl S, Dahlhoff EP, Rank NE and Mardulyn P (2014) Inferring the past and present connectivity across the range of a North American leaf beetle: combining ecological niche modeling and a geographically explicit model of coalescence. Evolution

Awards & Funding

Conference presentations

  • Presentations at the 3rd, 4th and 5th World Seabird Twitter Conferences (2017-19)
  • Talk at the 45th Pacific Seabird Group Meeting (PSG) 2018 (Mexico)
  • Talk at the Australasian Evolution Society and Phylomania meeting 2017 (Hobart)
  • Talk at the 6th International Albatross and Petrel Conference (IAPC6) 2016 (Barcelona)
  • Talk at the Island Arks Symposium IV (Island Arks) 2016 (Norfolk Island)
  • Talk at the Pacific Seabird Group 43rd Annual Meeting (PSG) 2016 (Hawaii)
  • Talk at the 8th Australasian Ornithological Conference (AOC) 2015 (Adelaide)
  • Poster presentation at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) (Adelaide)
  • Poster presentation at the 9th Graduate Research Conference (UTAS) 2015 (Hobart)

Workshops, Lab techniques & General training

Teaching experience

Field experience

Anicee Lombal - Australasian Gannets, Portland


Service to the community

Professional associations


Anicee Lombal - Lord Howe Island