Phoenix Group

Evolutionary Ecology & Genetics


Principal Investigators

Mary Morgan-Richards

Steve Trewick

Associate Investigators

Gillian Gibb

Simon Hills

Postdoctoral Fellows

Yuta Morii

Visiting Academics

Jesús Gómez-Zurita


Steve Trewick & tui

Current Postgraduates:

Ka hou ki te whenua, he tūngoungou; ka puta ki te rangi he pepe

[The pupa enters the earth; a moth emerges to the sky]

Kath Walker
Powelliphanta carnivorous snail taxonomy & conservation.

Matheiu Quenu
Tracking diversity and environmental change in giant land snails.

Julien Gaspar
Genomics of flightlessness in rails (Aves: Rallidae).

David Carmelet
Genomics of toxin resistance in a mammal pest species.

Mari Nakano
Stick insect chemical volatiles and mate choice.

Nimeshika (Nim) Pattabiraman
Spatial genetic of possums for conservation management.

Sam King
Diversity and hybirdisation in Naultinus diurnal tree geckos.



Graduate visitors to Phoenix Click the link

being PC 2

Order of the Phoenix: Graduate Alumni:
Ka haere te pipi aihe, ka noho te tūmū whakarae.
[The drifting pipi goes off, the headland remains fixed]

Dr Michael Gemmell PhD
Molecules and fossils marine mollusc speciation patterns.
Currently scientist with Horizons Regional Council, New Zealand.

Dr Emily Koot PhD
Climate change and grasshopper biodiversity.
Currently scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research.

Dr Felix Vaux PhD
Evolutionary lineages and the diversity of New Zealand true whelks. Currently at Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Oregon State University.

Dr Briar Taylor Smith PhD
Evolution of diversity: analysis of species and speciation in Hemiandrus ground wētā.
Currentlly taxonomist and environmental advocate.

Dr Elizabeth Daly PhD
Fine scale population structure through space and time.
Currently ecology scientist at Horizons Regional Council.

Dr Jo Fitness PhD
Te Pūtaiao o Tokoriro: taxonomy and diversity of New Zealand cave wētā (OrthopteraL Rhaphidophoridae)
Currently part-time taxonomist, and all time parent.

Dr Santhi Bhavanam PhD
Effect of nutrient limitation on the Mediterranean flour moth, Ephestia kuehniella Zeller.
Writing science and pheromone analysis.

Benjamin Bridgeman MSc
Wolbachia and New Zealand invertebrates.
Currently PhD in Hopkirk Institute, Massey University.

Louisa Sivyer MSc
Niche-modelling & genetics in Phaulacridium grasshoppers
Currently analytical food technician

Lena Olley MSc
MSc: Spatial partitioning of morphological and genetic variation in the New Zealand falcon (Falco naeseelandiae).

Dr Mariana Bulgarella <> Former postdoctoral fellow.
Currently at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Dr Cilla Wehi <> Former postdoctoral fellow. Currently at Landcare New Zealand, Dunedin.

Dr Juan-Carlos Garcia Ramirez <> PhD: The influence of space and time on the genetic architecture of rail species- Aves Rallidae.
Currently Hopkirk Institute, Massey University.

Dr Eddy Dowle PhD
Rates of molecular evolution and gene flow.
Currently at University of Otago.

Moniqua Nelson-Tunely MSc
Population fragmentation in the small-sclaed skink (Oligosoma microlepis): the consequences of human landscape transformation on a habiatat specialist's distribution, morphology and genetics.
Now consultant ecologists with EcoGecko

Emily Koot MSc
A clarfication of New Zealand Peripatoides divesity (Onychophora).
Now Phd student at Massey University.

Niki Minards MSc:
Physiological ecology of two tree weta species.
Now at Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre MMIC

Dr Rashmi Kant PhD:
Reproductive behaviour and fitness trade-offs in the aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae).
Currently Plant & Food Research, Auckland, NZ.

Dr Prasad Doddala PhD:
Systematics & ecology of Eucolaspis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and ecolog of Hawke's Bay lineage.

Dr Julia Goldberg <> PhD: Speciation and phylogeography in the New Zealand archipelago.
Now postdoctoral fellow at Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany.

Briar Smith BSc Honours
The distribution, phylogeography and morphology of the New Zealand ground weta, Hemiandrus maculifrons.
Then PhD at Massey University.

Phoenix robots

Ashley Murphy BSc Honours
The unique origin and maintenance of a hybrid zone within common gecko, Woodworthia maculata, on the south Wellington coast, New Zealand.
Now PhD candidate at Monash University, Australia.

Dr Simon Hills PhD
Evolution in a marine gastropod: rocks, clocks, DNA and diversity.
Now Postdoctoral fellow at Massey University

Melissa Griffin MSc
Wellington tree weta (Hemideina crassidens) diet and the effect of some of their dietary choices.
Recently at Plant & Food Research, Auckland.

Jo Fitness MSc
Wellington geckos meet Wairarapa geckos: hybirdisation between two genetically and morphologically distinct populations of the New Zealand common gecko complext (Hoplodactylus maculatus).
Then PhD student at Massey University.

Tarsha McKean MSc
Hybridization in North Island tree weta. Now doing PhD working on development of a sheep model for Alzeimer.s Disease research, at University of Auckland.

Robyn Dewhurst MSc
The diet of tree weta: natural and captive folivory preferences of Hemideina crassidens and H. thoracica.

Shelley Myers BSc Honours
Putting the pieces together; combining genetic techniques to investigate Acanthoxyla's origin. Hybridisation, polyploidy and more).

Esta Chappell MSc
Morphology, phylogeography and drumming behaviou of a New Zealand ground weta, Hemiandrus pallitarsis.
Now research assistant at Senckenberg Research Insititute, Germany

Gaia O'hara MSc
The lice from four species of rails in New Zealand.


melissa griffin

Tarsha Mckean

Rheyda Hinlo MSc
Population genetics and conservation of the Philippine crocodile.
Recently National Project Coordinator, Protected Areas & Wildlife Bureau, Philippines.

Renae Pratt PhD
Weta phylogenetics. Recently postdoctoral fellow at Australian National University, working with Marcel Cardillo.

Melissa Jackobson BSc Honours
BSc Honours: tree weta.
Now Environmental Educator for Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust

Lorraine Cook BSc Honours
Systematics and genetic diversity of New Zealand cave weta (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae)- the genus Gymnoplectron Hutton (1897).
Now working for New Zealand Conservation Department

Tarryn wyman BSc Honours
Tree weta as herbivores and seed dispersers.
Then PhD at University of Canterbury.


Phoenix group at Christmas