David Meagher is a bryologist. He has had a career as a scientific editor and author, and recently completed an MSc on taxonomy of the liverwort genus Bazzania. He is now doing a PhD on the bryophyte flora of Lord Howe Island. He is cataloguing the flora of the island and using morphology and DNA sequencing to assess the classification and biogeographic histories of selected genera. In the process he is teaching his supervisors something about bryophytes.
Supervisors: Mike Bayly, Andrew Drinnan
Patrick Fahey is a PhD student (2018-) studying phylogeography and classification of mallee-box eucalypts in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. These species occur as scattered populations in semi-arid regions that may be separated by hundreds of kilometres and have some unresolved taxonomy. By building a more complete picture of the evolutionary and biogeographical history of these species, we aim to improve understanding of the vegetation history of south-east Australia over the last few million years, and to test current classification of these species. Patrick’s project is supported by Jim H. Ross scholarship with funding from the Cybec Foundation.
Rachael Fowler is a PhD student studying phylogeny, classification and biogeography of the genus Eremophila (Myoproaceae). These plants are concentrated in arid and semiarid Australia. Understanding their relationships will support improved classification and provide insight into evolution of the arid zone flora. In conjunction with Prof. Gerry Cassis (University of NSW) Rachael is also investigating coevolutionary patterns between Eremophila and a diverse group of sap-sucking insects (genus Lasiacantha) that use them as hosts. Rachael’s project is supported by Jim H. Ross scholarship with funding from the Cybec Foundation.
Cat Clowes (website) is a PhD student studying morphological and molecular variation in Spyridium parvifolium (Rhamnaceae). This species is widespread and morphologically variable in southeastern Australia. Cat is assessing both the current taxonomy (should additional species or infraspecific taxa be recognised?) and factors that have shaped genetic diversity in the species (isolation, vicariance, dispersal etc.). She is using next-generation DNA sequencing methods to study genetic variation.
Shuyin Zhang did an honours project on root anatomy of Psilotales (2012). She is now continuing with a PhD on the anatomy of lower land plants, with the aim of improving understanding of the morphological evolution of plants.
Supervisor: Andrew Drinnan
Edita Ritmejeryte is a PhD student studying floral chemical defence and floral traits in the plant family Proteaceae. This includes a detailed study of cyanogenic glycosides in waratahs (Telopea speciosissima).
Harvey Orel is an Honours student (2019) studying genetic variation in species of Flat-Peas (genus Platylobium) with disjunct distributions. This will help us understand the biogeographic history of these species and the heathlands and heathy forests they inhabit.
Megan Rixon is a Masters student (part-time; 2016-2018) studying complex interrelationships between chenopod salt marsh plants (Sarcocornia and Tecticornia), gall inducing insects (Asphondylia), micro-fungi associated with galls (Botryosphaeria), and wasps that parasitise the larvae of Asphondylia. She is using field studies, morphological data, and DNA sequences to understand the biology of this interaction and the species involved.
Amelia-Grace Boxshall is a Masters student (2016-2018) investigating the taxonomy and toxicity of native and introduced Agaricus, Macrolepiota and Chlorophyllum. These fungi genera contain both edible and toxic species. Grace’s research will reconstruct the evolutionary history of Australian taxa, investigate the evolution of toxicity in these genera, and elucidate relationships between toxicity and environment conditions.
Kia Matley is a palaeo fanatic. She completed an Advanced Graduate Diploma reconstructing a 2000-year history of the vegetation in the Nullarbor by examining pollen preserved within a cave stalagmite, and is now doing a PhD on Pleistocene fossils from southeastern Australia. She is attempting to identify fossils that can be attributed to extant species to make inferences about vegetation history in the region. Australia. Kia has also worked on pollen analysis of Australian honey (paper here).
Supervisors: Andrew Drinnan, Kale Sniderman.