We investigate the causes of genetic differences within and among species, and the basis of variation in phenotypic traits.
The development of molecular techniques has transformed the way evolutionary biology is studied. Genetic variation can be studied in virtually all organisms, providing insights on their mating behaviour, effective population sizes and population structure. Recent genomic approaches such as next-generation sequencing and gene expression profiling also provide a powerful way to study local adaptation and identify genes controlling variation in phenotypic traits.
We are using molecular techniques such as microsatellites, gene expression analysis and next-generation sequencing to study mating preferences, population structure, phylogeography, speciation and the genetic basis of fitness traits in species ranging from Drosophila and crickets to marine turtles and mammals.
We also have a keen interest in conservation biology. Some of our recent projects include studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on gene flow in the ornate dragon lizard, the maintenance of genetic variation in the western rock lobster and population structure in an endemic freshwater fish. Current projects include investigations on the genetic consequences of translocation, hybridisation in freshwater crustaceans and the impacts of reduced heterozygosity in natural populations of guppies.