My primary interest is in using different molecular genetic techniques to answer conservation and ecological questions. Recently this work has involved studying the cryptic and rarely observed members of the beaked whale family; the least known of all mammalian families. We have used molecular genetics to investigate the identity of previously unknown species and developed genetic techniques to examine demographic processes and kinship in Gray’s beaked whales. This has involved the use of next generation sequencing in a move towards using conservation genomics to study, and manage, cryptic mobile megafauna.
My previous work has involved fieldwork around the world in terrestrial and marine conservation projects, management of one of the largest collections of marine mammal tissue in the world, work at universities (Auckland, Oxford) and consultancy for governmental, intergovernmental institutions and NGOs. These projects have required extensive collaboration with other research institutions throughout Europe, US and Oceania.
I am also a Research Affiliate at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand, both as a member of the Molecular Genetics and Development Group and the Marine Mammal Ecology Group.
2013 MSc. (Hons.) Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ [1st Class]
1993 BSc. (Hons.) Zoology, University of Glasgow, UK [2.i]
I am currently a postgraduate student studying for a PhD by Publication. My thesis is entitled 'Biodiversity wildcards: The role of molecular genetics in studying cryptic deep ocean megafauna'.
I also work as a consultant scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories, also based at the University of Exeter, giving advice on a number of campaign areas such as the Oceans, Arctic and Ecological Farming.
Thompson KF, Patel S, Baker CS, Constantine R, Millar CD. (2015). Bucking the trend: genetic analysis reveals high diversity and little differentiation in a deep ocean cetacean. Heredity 116: 277–285.
Thompson KF, Ruggiero, K, Millar CD, Constantine R, van Helden A. (2014). Large-scale multivariate analysis reveals sexual dimorphism and geographic differences in the Gray’s beaked whale. Journal of Zoology 294: 13-21.
Patel S, Thompson KF, Williams L, Tsai P, Constantine R, Millar CD. (2014). Mining microsatellites for Gray’s beaked whale from next generation sequencing data. Conservation Genetics Resources 6: 657-659.
Thompson KF, Patel S, WilliamsL, Tsai P, Constantine R, Millar CD. (2014). High coverage of the complete mitochondrial genome of the rare Gray’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi) using Illumina next generation sequencing. Mitochondrial DNA Jan 2014.
Constantine R, Steel D, Allen J, Anderson M, et al. (2014). Remote Antarctic feeding ground important for east Australian humpback whales. Marine Biology 161: 1087-1093.
Dalebout ML, Baker CS, Steel D, Thompson KF, Robertson K, Chivers SJ, Perrin WF, Goonatilake M, Anderson RC, Mead JG, Potter CW, Yamada TK, Thompson TK, Jupiter D. (2014). Resurrection of Mesoplodon hotaula Deraniyagala 1963: A new species of beaked whale in the tropical Indo-Pacific. Marine Mammal Science 30: 1081-1108.
Baker CS, Hutt A, Thompson K, Dalebout ML, Robins J, Brownell RL, Stone GS. (2014). Species identity and human consumption of beaked whales in the Gilbert Islands, Republic of Kiribati. Animal Conservation 16: 641–647.
Thompson KF, Millar CD, Baker CS, Dalebout M, Steel D, van Helden A, Constantine R. (2013). A novel conservation approach provides insights into the management of rare cetaceans. Biological Conservation 157: 331–340.
Thompson K, Baker S, van Helden A, Patel S, Millar C, Constantine R. (2012). The world’s rarest whale. Current Biology 22: 905–906.
Constantine R, Jackson J, Steel D, Baker CS, Brooks L, Burns D, Clapham P, Hauser N, Madon B, Mattila D, Oremus M, Poole M, Robbins J, Thompson K and Garrigue C (2012). Abundance of humpback whales in Oceania using photo-identification and microsatellite genotyping. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 453: 249–261.
Gordon J, Moscrop A, Carlson C, Ingram S, Leaper R, Mathews J, Young K. (1998). Distribution, movements and residency of sperm whales off the Commonwealth of Dominica, Eastern Caribbean: implications for the development and regulation of the local whalewatching industry. Report to the International Whaling Commission 48: 551-557.
Reports to the Scientific Committee to the International Whaling Commission & other non-refereed reports:
Baker CS, Hutt A, Thompson K, Dalebout ML, Robins J, Brownell RL, Stone GS. (2012). Species identity and local use of cetaceans in the Gilbert Islands, Republic of Kiribati. Report to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. No. SC/64/SM4
Dalebout ML, Baker CS, Steel D, Thompson KF, Robertson K, Chivers SJ, Perrin WF, Goonatilake M, Anderson RC, Mead JG, Potter CW, Yamada TK, Thompson TK, Jupiter D. (2012). A newly recognized beaked whale (Ziphiidae) in the tropical indo-pacific: Mesoplodon hotaula or M. ginkgodens hotaula. Report to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. No. SC/64/SM3
Thompson KF. (2012). Maui’s and Mining: A Review of Marine Mineral Activity on the West Coast of New Zealand and its Potential Impacts. Report to the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
Oremus M, Leqata J, Hurutarau J, Taei S, Donoghue M, Thompson K, Baker CS. (2012). Population status of Tursiops aduncus in the Solomon Islands and assessment of live-capture sustainability. Report to the Solomon Islands Government.
Constantine R, Allen J, Beeman P, Burns D, Charrassin J, Childerhouse S, Double M, Ensor P, Franklin T, Franklin W, Gales N, Garrigue C, Gates E, Gibbs N, Hutsel A, Jenner C, Jenner M, Kaufman G, Macie A, Mattila D, Oosterman A, Paton D, Robbins J, Schmitt N, Stevick P, Tagarino A and Thompson K. (2011). Comprehensive photo-identification matching of Antarctic Area V humpback whales. Report to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission SC/63/SH16.
Thompson K, Donoghue M, Bell L. (2010). Ocean Voices - Lessons from the Whales for the CBD: Humpback whales in Oceania. Report to Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme for the Convention on Biodiversity, Nagoya 2010.
Thompson KF, (2010). Cetaceans in the Pacific Islands Region. Report to the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
Constantine R, Garrigue C, Steel D, Jackson J, Burns D, Clapham P, Hauser N, Matilla D, Oremus M, Poole M, Robbins J, Thompson K, Baker CS. (2010). Abundance of humpback whales in Oceania based on fluke photo-identification and DNA profiling. Report to the International Whaling Commission, Scientific Committee. SC/62/SH18.
Thompson KF, (2009). Marine Mammals of Northland: 2009 Update to Educational Manual. Report to the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOCDM-504249).
Thompson KF, O’Callaghan TM, Dalebout M, Baker CS. (2002). Population Ecology of Bryde’s Whales (Balaenoptera edenii sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand: preliminary observations. Report to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. No. SC/54/015.
Young K. (1998). Seal watching in the UK and Northern Ireland. Report published by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD, UK. ISBN 1 – 901002-03-9. [23 citations March 2016].
Young K. (1995). Ecology of sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, off the coast of Dominica. Report to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Our research has attracted considerable public interest and been subject of more than 200 news articles. Some examples: