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Dr. Flavia Santamaria

B.Biol.(Hons), Grad.Dip.Edu., PhD (Science)
School of Access Education
Rockhampton North
Building 32 - G 36
About Me

Dr Flavia Santamaria is a Lecturer in the School of Access Education (SAE) at CQUniversity (Rockhampton Campus) and a Researcher working on koala projects with Koala Research-CQ and the Flora, Fauna and Freshwater Research Group at the School of Health, Medical & Applied Sciences.

Flavia is passionate about education in all of its facets and enjoys teaching adult students because of their enthusiasm and commitment to their own future.
Flavia's PhD, carried out in Victoria at the former University of Ballarat (now Federation University), studied the impact of translocation on the health, tree species selection and movement of radio-tracked koalas relocated from French Island to forests around Ballarat.

Both in Victoria and Queensland, she has worked on projects that included GIS mapping and surveys of koala habitat and koala surveys.

Flavia's current and future research focus on:

  • the impact of anthropogenic environmental changes on koala populations, including the potential pressure caused by environmental stressors on the health of koalas
  • detection and prevention of disease in koalas
  • using the koala as a flagship species in educating communities for sustainability

Completed projects

  • 2023: Stress of hospitised injured and diseased koalas
  • 2021: Determination of the over time decay of cortisol metabolites in the faecal pellets of koalas in Central Queensland
  • 2020: Quantifying koala faecal cortisol metabolite baseline using enzyme immunoassay and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • 2018: Determination of faecal cortisol metabolites and excretion lag time in koalas: paving the way for a targeted, non-invasive stress monitoring tool
  • 2017: R1-Koala Research CSAR17023- Koala habitat health - remote sensing based, landscape-scale habitat management toolkit, initial climate change scenario assessment & local habitat health checks

Other interests

Protection of the environment by engaging with various community groups.

Universities Studied At

PhD, University of Ballarat

Graduate Diplama of Education, Victoria University

Biological Sciences (Masters), Universita' degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Dipartimento di Biologia, Roma, Italy

Universities Worked At

University of Melbourne (Creswick Campus): Lecturer (sessional) in Forest Ecology.


Dean's Award for Outstanding Researchers 2021-CQUniversity

Media Citations

  • April 2021 ABC radio Mackay and Brisbane on the conducted a live interview. The programs were broadcasted on ten ABC stations from the north of Queensland to Brisbane and to the west of Queensland.
  • May 2021: Interview with Win TV and Channel 7 News
  • Newspaper articles were also published in the Bulletin (01/04/2021) and in the Courier Mail (Gladstone 03/04/2021)
  • June 2021, the Rockhampton Zoo, where I was collecting faecal pellets for my current project, posted a story on Facebook and in July 2022 we received a donation of $8,819 to support my PhD student’s research.
  • March 2023: Interview with Paul Culiver on ABC Capricornia about stress in female koalas
  • March 2023: Interview with Channel 7 News 
  • May 2023 to celebrate Mother’s Day the Australia Zoo and CQUniversity joined forces to promote the scientific research collaboration between mother and daughter representing two institutions dedicated to the conservation of the koala.

Previous teaching

Professional Memberships

International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology

Australasian Wildlife Management Society

Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales

Consultancy Work

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • 3109 Zoology
  • 4102 Ecological Applications
  • 4104 Environmental management

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
Current Supervision
Doctor of Philosophy
Evaluation of the health status of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) throughout Central Queensland using non-invasive methods
Principal Supervisor
Research Interests
Biological Sciences

Physiology - Animal Physiology - Systems


Education Systems - Continuing and Community Education

Environmental Sciences

Ecological Applications - Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science and Management - Environmental Monitoring

Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science and Management - Wildlife and Habitat Management

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