We are the Plant Systematics Research Group in the School of BioSciences at The University of Melbourne.
We study the phylogeny, classification and biogeography of Australasian plants, including eucalypts, acacias, Eremophila, Nicotiana, Dianella, Grevillea, the family Rutaceae, ferns and bryophytes. Our research relies heavily on genetic markers, and generally involves field work, molecular lab work, comparisons of plant morphology, and use of herbarium specimens. We also study plant development, e.g. using confocal microscopy, in order to understand the evolution of the structure of land plants.
Our research provides fundamental data on genetic variation to test and refine the naming and classification of plants. Biological names and classifications are essential for effective communication about plants and other organisms, and are needed by a wide range of scientists and other users, including horticulturalists and government agencies, e.g. for regulations associated with conservation, biosecurity etc.
Knowledge of taxonomy and relationships underpins the management and conservation of biodiversity, because it defines the units (species, subspecies, areas of genetic diversity) that are the objects of management.
We have a strong collaboration with research staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and offer joint supervision of Honours and Postgraduate Research projects.