I'm a PhD candidate currently based at the University of Adelaide & State herbarium of South Australia.
I've just completed my Honours at the University of Western Australia (UWA), under the supervision of Kevin Thiele & Michelle Waycott, where we discovered four new species of Banksia (and two potentially new species pending further investigation)!
I'm still at the planning stages of my PhD, however, I'm certain that taxonomy and systematics will be a core component of my project. My project will focus on the biogeographic and phylogeographic relationships of the South Australian temperate flora, in relation to the wider temperate Australian region as a whole. Many studies have focused on either the southwest or southeastern regions of Australia, with the Adelaide-Kangaroo Island region in South Australia being overlooked even though it is identified as an endemism center – one that contains many species and genera with disjunct distributions across the Nullarbor and Murray-Darling basin. Understanding the historical processes that have resulted in these distributions will require the integration of multiple fields, with practical implications for taxonomy, systematics, conservation biology, and in advancing our understanding of evolutionary processes that have occurred across the region as a whole.
I'm also currently involved in a number of other projects, including one with Hans Lambers where we looked at the host preferences of quandong (Santalum acuminatum) in both an ecological and physiological context. I'm also involved with the Kwongan Foundation (http://www.facebook.com/kwonganfoundation/) where we aim to achieve UNESCO World Heritage listing for the biodiverse region of southwest Western Australia. I also try and engage with the wider community in promoting taxonomic knowledge and its importance by showcasing the diversity of life through social media channels (e.g. http://www.instagram.com/francisnge/).
I've always been fascinated about the natural world, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago while completing my undergraduate degree in botany at UWA that I'd realised taxonomy underpins all other fields of biology, and is crucial in advancing our understanding of the immense diversity on earth. Despite the crucial role that we play, our work are often under appreciated (from both the scientific community and the general public), hence I fully support the Decadal Plan.
I am keen to learn from all the great minds and experienced researchers/ botanists here, and hope to meet you in the near future. :)