The common thread linking most of the work in our lab is the use of molecular markers to understand gene flow. We consider many levels: from pollen movements in plants and within-colony relationships in social animals to interspecific gene flow in trees and feral animals.

Eucalypt genomics

Speciation and hybridisation in woodland Eucalyptus Eucalyptus offers a unique opportunity to investigate the sources of allelic variation underlying adaptive radiation. It is a species-rich (>700 species) genus, primarily consisting of essential foundation species on which entire ecosystems of interacting organisms depend. The box-ironbark eucalypt group has a central role in a number of protected communities … Continue reading Eucalypt genomics

Pollination genomics

Pollination is a critical process in gene flow and plant reproduction, not to mention food production. Recent developments in pollination ecology involve pollen metabarcoding, as well as detailed experimental and observational work. However, more powerful molecular approaches are needed to understand pollen movements among closely-related cultivars and among plant species with low levels of differentiation, … Continue reading Pollination genomics

Species delimitation

Conservation efforts in Australian plant communities are often plagued by difficult and unresolved taxonomy, so there is a pressing need to do the hard work of disentangling species complexes and deciding which entities deserve to be named species. What is a species? Varying answers to this question continue to influence evolutionary biology (e.g. see the … Continue reading Species delimitation

Feral animal genetics

Feralisation, the process of a wild population arising from a domestic species, is a rare example and an ideal model of very rapid natural selection. Is the domestication process reversed, causing feral animals to become more like their wild progenitors, or is evolution accelerated in a new direction? We are addressing this question in Australian … Continue reading Feral animal genetics