Dr Ami Fadhillah Amir Abdul Nasir

How does environmental Manganese affect the health and performance of Northern Quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) on Groote Eylandt?

Lab Manager (Part-Time) amifadhillah@uq.edu.au

PhD (2012 - 2017), The University of Queensland                                     BSc Honours 1st (2007 - 2010), The University of Queensland    


Deploying air filters in the indigenous town Angurugu to assess level of airborne Mn, PhD research, 2015.

Deploying air filters in the indigenous town Angurugu to assess level of airborne Mn, PhD research, 2015.

A to Z

Growing up I’ve always wanted to be a vet. I love animals, and my dad was a forester.  We went on many 4WD trips into the Malaysian rainforests witnessing how rampant logging affected the wildlife habitat. The vet dream was short-lived when I got a B for chemistry in the final exam. Instead, I was offered a scholarship to study ‘Science’ at UQ, and that was when I learned that courses like ‘ecology’ and ‘marine biology’ actually exist. I was blown away! I signed up for all the national park field trips, volunteered at wildlife sanctuaries in Australia and Malaysia and even learned how to tag a wild dugong. Guess who’s not dreaming of vet school anymore? A chance encounter with Robbie on a field trip to Lamington National Park at the end of my 3rd year study lured me into the Wilson Trap, I mean, Lab ;) I got my first taste of that research life doing my Honours on koala movements in an urban areas of Redland. I learned how to capture wild koalas using poles and plastic bags, and track koalas in the wild using the GPS and VHF collars. 

Malacca Zoo volunteering days, Malaysia, 2009.

Malacca Zoo volunteering days, Malaysia, 2009.

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Dugong tagging field trip, North Straddie, 2008. (L) Found a tree snake at Lamington NP, 2009. (R) Applying cream on a sick elephant, volunteering in Malaysia, 2009.

Dugong tagging field trip, North Straddie, 2008. (L) Found a tree snake at Lamington NP, 2009. (R) Applying cream on a sick elephant, volunteering in Malaysia, 2009.

Koala VHF collaring with Sean & Bill, Honours research, 2010.

Koala VHF collaring with Sean & Bill, Honours research, 2010.

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Shortly after graduating with Honours degree, I worked as an RA for a research group MEME in Malaysia, where we studied the movement of translocated Asian elephants.  I was assigned a field position to monitor GPS collared elephants via satellite and how translocated elephants utilize their new landscape. It was tough to witness first-hand the impacts human-wildlife conflicts have on both the megafauna and the farmers. I knew I had a lot more to learn and that realisation led me back to Australia for a PhD.

‘We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words’ Anna Sewell (1820 - 1878). Will the asian elephants survive this conflict? Elephant collaring and tracking work under MEME, 2011.

‘We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words’ Anna Sewell (1820 - 1878). Will the asian elephants survive this conflict? Elephant collaring and tracking work under MEME, 2011.

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I assessed how the bioaccumulation of Manganese in the wildlife tissues imposed changes in their health, with possible effects on reproduction and locomotor performance. With the help of Wilson Lab members, I spent the majority of the first three years on Groote Eylandt, to conduct these intensive field data collections on the endangered northern quolls. I learned the many techniques of wildlife trapping, handling and processing, to sampling hair, blood and vital organs of quolls for internal metal load composition.

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Cliff diving, babies fused to mom’s teats and sampling quoll blood at midnight… crazy times!

Cliff diving, babies fused to mom’s teats and sampling quoll blood at midnight… crazy times!

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The vastness that is Knik Glacier, and getting to appreciate Spencer Glacier up close from a kayak. Alaska delivered, basically… July 2015.

The vastness that is Knik Glacier, and getting to appreciate Spencer Glacier up close from a kayak. Alaska delivered, basically… July 2015.

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 I also got to spend six weeks in the University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska, USA learning hormone extraction techniques, under the supervision of Professor Frank von Hippel and Professor Charles Loren Buck (the lab has since moved to Arizona, USA). That was a plus! Since I graduated, my husband and I had welcomed a gorgeous baby boy. With a small human glued to me like a conjoined twin, I was over the moon when Robbie let me back onboard, to help with some of the amazing research projects the lab currently has running. I’m sure one day the full-swing research bug will catch me again and preferably throw me onto another pristine, remote island… you know, the tough life. Until then, I have wet nappies to change.

Research Interest

I’m passionate about wildlife conservation, and exploring the many techniques and approaches ecologists can adopt to detect potential risks and best mitigate the situation. That simple.

Trying to spot any wildlife in the Moreeb Dunes, UAE be like… 2017.

Trying to spot any wildlife in the Moreeb Dunes, UAE be like… 2017.

 

Outside of Work

I spend quality time with my family. We are either at home cooking, singing and dancing to the Wiggles, or out traveling. So many places to go, so little time!

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From Malaysia to UAE, Sweden, Morocco, Oman, Australia, Singapore and the list goes on….

From Malaysia to UAE, Sweden, Morocco, Oman, Australia, Singapore and the list goes on….

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Publications

1)        Merritt, D. J., Rodgers, E. M., Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F. & Clarke, A. K. (2012) Same temporal niche, opposite rhythmicity: Two closely related bioluminescent insects with opposite bioluminesce propensity rhythms. Chronobiology International, 29(10), 1336-1344.

2)        Wynn, M. L., Clemente, C. J., Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F. & Wilson, R. S. (2015) Running faster causes disaster: Trade-offs between speed, manoeuvrability and motor control when running around corners in northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus). Journal of Experimental Biology, 218, 433-439.

3)        Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F., Clemente, C. J., Wynn, M. L. & Wilson, R. S. (2017) Optimal running speeds when there is a trade-off between speed and the probability of mistakes. Functional Ecology, 31(10), 1941-1949.

4)        Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F., Cameron, S. F., von Hippel, F. A., Postlethwait, J., Niehaus, A. C., Blomberg, S. and Wilson, R. S. (2018) Manganese accumulates in the brain of northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) living near an active mine. Environmental Pollution, 233, 377-386.

5)        Charters, J., Heiniger, J., Clemente, C., Cameron, S., Nasir, Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F., Niehaus, A. & Wilson, R. (2018) Multidimensional analyses of physical performance reveal a size dependent trade-off between suites of traits. Functional Ecology, 32(6), 1541-1553.

6)        Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F., Cameron, S. F., Niehaus, A. C., Clemente, C. J., von Hippel, F. A. and Wilson, R. S. (2018) Manganese contamination affects the motor performance of wild northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus). Environmental Pollution, 242, 55-62.

7) Clemente, C. J., Dick, T. J. M., Wheatley, R., Gaschk, J., Amir Abdul Nasir, A. F., Cameron, S. F. and Wilson, R. S. (2019) Moving in complex environments: a biomechanical analysis of locomotion on inclined and narrow substrates. Journal of Experimental Biology, 222.