Professor Shari Forbes presentation will discuss the development of the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER)Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), colloquially referred to as a ‘body farm’.
Taphonomy involves the study of human and animal remains from the time of death to the time of discovery.
The process of decomposition is inherently impacted by the surrounding environment, including climatic conditions, geological formation and the ecological community.
Until recently, the only facilities that conducted human decomposition research were based in the USA however their data could not be extrapolated to Australia due to our distinctly different environment.
AFTER opened in 2016 as a national research and training centre that will revolutionise the way in which criminal and death investigations are conducted in Australia.
A greater understanding of the decomposition process can assist police and forensic investigators to search for, locate, recover, and identify victim remains.
Such research is particularly important for investigations involving missing persons, and/or victims of homicide, genocide, or mass disaster.
The presentation will provide an overview of the need for these facilities in Australia and elsewhere in the world, the process involved in establishing the first facility in Australia, as well as examples of how the research benefits the scientific and law enforcement community.
Shari Forbes is a Professor and former ARC Future Fellow in the Centre for Forensic
Science at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She is also the Director of the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), the first facility of its kind in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.
She was the founding Director of the Forensic Science program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) from 2005-2012 where she also held a Canada Research Chair in Decomposition Chemistry before returning to Australia in 2012.
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