Dr Emma Louise Carroll


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Senior Research Fellow

Research | Current

I am a molecular ecologist that uses genomics and statistical models to understand natural populations, particularly marine mammals. The role of behaviour in shaping how connected different groups or populations has been a particular theme in my research; this has including migratory fidelity and migratory culture in southern right whales.

More information is on my lab website: whalednalab.auckland.ac.nz

My Rutherford Discovery Fellowship is on "Family Matters: Developing close kin mark recapture methods to estimate key demographic parameters in natural populations". This is work with Assoc. Prof. Rachel Fewster, UOA, Assoc. Prof Simon Jarman, Dr Mark Bravington, Assoc. Prof. Rochelle Constantine and Prof. C. Scott Baker.

Conventionally, the only way to estimate key population demographic parameters critical for management and conservation (abundance, survival, growth rates) was from long-term studies that follow individuals over their lifetime. In this project, we will use close kin mark recapture (CKMR), which extends the field of capture-recapture models that are predicated on the recapture of individuals, to include the recapture of close kin to estimate demographic parameters. The CKMR method has striking advantages over conventional analyses because the effective sample size is higher than the actual number of individuals sampled: individuals will be recaptured in the genome of their kin even if not physically recaptured. More importantly, when combined with age data, CKMR requires only a short-term, cross-sectional sample of a population, not decades-long datasets. In addition to providing valuable information on an endangered species, the southern right whale, this work will generate new methodologies that can be applied more broadly in the field of ecology.

Teaching | Current


BIOSCI 322 - Evolution of genes, populations and species

BIOSCI 337 - Animal Behaviour

Postgraduate supervision

Graduate student opportunities:

Assessment of connectivity in New Zealand and Australian right whales using kinship

MSc or Hons project is available using genomic data to investigate connectivity across the Indo-Pacific by assessing kin relatedness of individual right whales. Please email for more information

Current students: 

Mrs Aubrie Booth - PhD in population genomics of beaked whales 

"Assessing resilience of beaked whale populations to human impacts: population structure and genetic diversity in impacted and semi-pristine areas" 

Co-supervised with Drs Oscar Gaggiotti and Natacha Aguilar

Ms Franca Eichenberger and Ms Sarah Niksik - PhD investigating the evolutionary drivers of song in humpback whales

Co-supervised with Drs Ellen Garland and Luke Rendell

Ms Laura Zantis: microplastics of whale pooh


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Carroll, E. L., Hall, A., Olsen, M. T., Onoufriou, A. B., Gaggiotti, O. E., & Russell, D. J. (2020). Perturbation drives changing metapopulation dynamics in a top marine predator. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287 (1928)10.1098/rspb.2020.0318
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51903
  • Carroll, E. L., Ott, P. H., McMillan, L. F., Galletti Vernazzani, B., Neveceralova, P., Vermeulen, E., ... Bamford, C. (2020). Genetic Diversity and Connectivity of Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) Found in the Brazil and Chile-Peru Wintering Grounds and the South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur) Feeding Ground. The Journal of heredity, 111 (3), 263-276. 10.1093/jhered/esaa010
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51881
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Fewster
  • Mackay, A. I., Bailleul, F., Carroll, E. L., Andrews-Goff, V., Baker, C. S., Bannister, J., ... Double, M. (2020). Correction: Satellite derived offshore migratory movements of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) from Australian and New Zealand wintering grounds. PloS one, 15 (6)10.1371/journal.pone.0235186
  • Mackay, A. I., Bailleul, F., Carroll, E. L., Andrews-Goff, V., Baker, C. S., Bannister, J., ... Double, M. (2020). Satellite derived offshore migratory movements of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) from Australian and New Zealand wintering grounds. PloS one, 15 (5)10.1371/journal.pone.0231577
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51907
  • Brakes, P., Dall, S. R. X., Aplin, L. M., Bearhop, S., Carroll, E. L., Ciucci, P., ... Keith, S. A. (2019). Animal cultures matter for conservation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 363 (6431), 1032-1034. 10.1126/science.aaw3557
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46743
  • Carroll, E. L., & Gaggiotti, O. E. (2019). Making use of the social network in conservation genomics: Integrating kinship and network analyses to understand connectivity. Molecular ecology resources, 19 (2), 307-309. 10.1111/1755-0998.12950
  • Stokholm, I., Härkönen T, Harding, K. C., Siebert, U., Lehnert, K., Dietz, R., ... Carroll, E. L. (2019). Phylogenomic insights to the origin and spread of phocine distemper virus in European harbour seals in 1988 and 2002. Diseases of aquatic organisms, 133 (1), 47-56. 10.3354/dao03328
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48247
  • Harcourt, R., van der Hoop, J., Kraus, S., & Carroll, E. L. (2019). Future Directions in Eubalaena spp.: Comparative Research to Inform Conservation. FRONTIERS IN MARINE SCIENCE, 510.3389/fmars.2018.00530
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46925


Contact details

Primary office location

COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
Level 1, Room 112
New Zealand

Social links

Web links