Historic drivers of species distribution and phenotype

We use a variety of molecular markers to investigate the origin, diversification and distribution of a range of taxonomic groups, and their response to climatic and historical processes. This molecular work provides an evolutionary framework in which to conduct our field- and lab-based research, where we apply an evolutionary perspective to the study of ecology and behaviour. 

Our research focuses on topics as diverse as social behaviour, morphology (using CT scanning) mating systems, life-history, anti-predator behaviour, and thermal adaptation.

Historic drivers of species distribution

and phenotype

Human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC)

 

Our research focuses on species that display divergent responses to HIREC, namely invasive species that expand their range, and threatened species that contract their range. Species invasions involve the human-mediated dispersal of individuals beyond their native range, the successful establishment of populations in novel environments, and the invaders competing with native species as they spread across the landscape. Invasive species therefore provide exciting opportunities to investigate, over contemporary timescales, key evolutionary and ecological processes. We investigate the pathways through which species are introduced to new regions, and the biosecurity measures that aim to prevent the transportation or post-border establishment of introduced species. In addition, we examine the factors that result in range declines and increased extinction risk in threatened species.

Human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC)

Macroecology and

comparative analyses

We use comparative methods to investigate the ecology and evolution of squamate reptiles.

 

Our research is focused on areas including:

i) conservation and extinction risk;

ii) the interplay between morphology, ecology, ecophysiology, life-history and the environment;

iii) invasion biology and biosecurity.

Macroecology and comparative analyses

MAIN STUDY SYSTEMS

Delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata), and Lampropholis genus

The delicate skink is one of the most abundant and widespread vertebrates in eastern Australia, occurring from North Queensland to Tasmania. It is also the only Australian lizard that has successfully established overseas (where it is known as the rainbow or plague skink), with invasive populations in the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, and Lord Howe Island. We are examining the role of behaviour in the introduction process, intraspecific hybridisation in the invasive range, thermal biology, learning and cognition, colour pattern polymorphism, and its impact on native species. In addition, we are completing a range of comparative analyses on other widespread and range-restricted members of the genus. 

Lampropholis delicata
Lampropholis delicata

Delicata - the rainbow skink
Delicata - the rainbow skink

Lampropholis delicata
Lampropholis delicata

Lampropholis delicata
Lampropholis delicata

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