I’m a PhD candidate at James Cook University in Cairns with the Australian Tropical Herbarium. While completing my honours project working on the taxonomic resolution of the Tetratheca hirsuta complex at the Western Australian Herbarium I was hooked by the juicy questions that systematics can answer, the fundamental importance of taxonomy and how much there still is to be understood about the Australian flora.
I am currently in the early stages of my project which focusses on the origins of the northern Australian flora and specifically the role of exchange between Sunda and Sahul. By comparing published and unpublished dated molecular phylogenies for the region and generating new phylogenies I’m trying to get a picture of the temporal patterns in divergence events that contributed to making the northern Australian flora the way it is now. I’m also interested in trying to identify some of the main factors driving divergence in this region on a broad scale.
Aside from trying to get to the bottom of these questions, the opportunity that this project gives me to work with researchers from a number of disciplines and work with multiple groups of plants is really exciting for a plant nerd like me. What better way to spend the next few years! (OK, I might be in the honeymoon period of my project but just let me have it…)
I’m passionate about the importance of systematics and taxonomy and, as a new kid on the block, view the Decadal Plan as a necessary and encouraging step towards promoting this field and securing its future.