PhD Candidate

Peter Puskic


Current research

I am very fortunate to be able to work on the remote sub-tropical, Lord Howe Island. My fieldwork is emotionally challenging, as I extract plastic from Flesh-footed Shearwater chicks. My lab work consists of molecular and histopathology analysis of shearwaters and their stomachs to determine if plastics have caused any detectable harm.

What my project involves

I use a variety of lab techniques to understand what plastics and their associated chemicals do to the physiology and health of seabirds.

Fun trivia about my research

Over 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year

Research project in a haiku

pen lid, bottle cap
within shearwaters they fly
wings on toxic tides

Research-related interests

With a background in archaeology, I am interested in the things people leave behind, our past and future fossils. My research interests explores these ‘fossils’ such as plastics. I ground my research in conservation physiology, understanding how an animal’s body functions to better understand these anthropogenic impacts.

About me

I grew up on the West coast of Australia before moving to Melbourne to study my undergraduate in Zoology and Archaeology at La Trobe University. I took a 3rd year research project looking at parasites in LittlePenguins and have been working with marine animals ever since.

Previous work I've done

My first job was as a projectionist at my local cinema. When I left my hometown, I worked at the University Wildlife Sanctuary as tour guide. I think this combination of jobs is why I love science communication and outreach so much!

Committees and affiliations

I sit on the IMAS Inclusion diversity equity and access (IDEA) committee and am committed to highlighting the voices of less represented groups in STEM such as the LGBTQIA+ community. I am also thecurrent IMAS Ecology and Biodiversity student rep.

Favourite R function / resource / short-cut

beepr package– makes SuperMario noises when your script runs successfully.