Research

montage
L-R: Gasteruption sp. by B. Parslow, Tiliqua rugosa by M. Gardner, Egernia stokesii by G. Duffield, Native bee larvae by B. Parslow, Amytornis modestus by A. Slender.

Research interests of the LEGS lab focuses on population genetics, molecular ecology, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, evolution, and sociality, and spans a diverse range of animal study species.

ARC funded project DP200102880 – Can parasites drive host population divergence?

Parasites have been proposed to be drivers of population divergence, and ultimately speciation, yet the dynamics of this process are not well understood. This project will utilise new genomic techniques, novel hybrid zone analyses, and data on mate choice, to investigate the hypothesis that parasites drive population divergence through an interaction with immune response genes in the sleepy lizard Tiliqua rugosa. This species provides an unprecedented system, backed by 40 years of long term host-parasite and behavioural data, and recent genetic analyses. This project intends to produce significant data to allow an examination of the early stages of host-parasite evolution in action, providing novel insights into the speciation process.

Investigators

Lead CI Mike Gardner (Flinders University)

PI Steve Cooper (SA Regional Facility for Molecular Ecology and Evolution – SARFMEE)

PI Rob Miller (University of New Mexico)

PI Andy Sih (University of California, Davis)

PI Steph Godfrey (University of Otago)

Tiliqua_rugosa_27000_2017_09_13_Mid_North_South_Australia_01

ARC funded project LP1901000715 – Mitigating against climate change – genomics and mixed source populations in wildlife translocations.

Translocation is a conservation strategy to help the plight of endangered species, and is becoming increasing important to mitigate against climate change. However translocations often fail. Theory suggests mixing individuals from different source populations would benefit species’ genomic diversity and potentially success rates, however this is untested in animals. Also unclear is what parts of the genome are important for mitigating against climate change. Using an endangered lizard model, this project aims to understand how to best start new populations by 1) providing the first empirical test in terrestrial vertebrates of using mixed source populations; and 2) uncovering regions of the genome important for considering in translocations.

Investigators –

Lead CI Mike Gardner

PI Mark Hutchinson

PI Steph Godfrey

PI Terry Bertozzi

Linkage Partners –

Flinders University

South Australian Museum

University of Otago, NZ

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT AND WATER

RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS PTY LTD

THE FIELD NATURALISTS SOCIETY OF SA INC

Flow Power

NATURE FOUNDATION SA INC

ADELAIDE AIRPORT LIMITED