Melbourne Systematics Forum

   A discussion group for topics in ecology, systematics and evolution
hosted by Museum Victoria Sciences Department
next meeting

Previous meetings Melbourne Systematics Forum meetings 2001-2015

Previous meetings - 2015

Thursday 5 March 2015 12:30 pm
David Baum, University of Wisconsin
Methods for identifying the causes of genealogical discordance and what they can tell us about the concept of species

Thursday 2 April 2015 12:30 pm
Christy Anna Hipsley, Research Fellow Museum Victoria & University of Melbourne
Macroevolutionary perspectives on squamate reptiles: reconstructing morphological transformations using fossil & extant collections

Thursday 7 May 2015 12:30 pm
Daniel Ohlsen, School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne
Systematics, biogeography, and taxonomy of Aspleniaceae ferns in Australasia and the south-west Pacific

Thursday 4 June 2015 12:30 pm
Maggie Haines, Luisa Teasdale, Pete Smissen, Museum Victoria
Summaries of presentations of interest from the recent Species delimitation in the age of genomics workshop at CBA, ANU

Thursday 2 July 2015

Thursday 6 August 2015 12:30 pm
Andrew Pask, The University of Melbourne
Extinct Marsupial Genetics: Building the Thylacine Genome

Thursday 3 September 2015 12:30 pm
Richard Marchant Museum Victoria
The productivity of the macroinvertebrate prey of the platypus in the upper Shoalhaven River, New South Wales

Thursday 8 October 2015 12:30 pm **[NB this month only the 2nd Thursday]
Mike Lee, The University of Adelaide & South Australian Museum.
Bayesian Inference and the Reversibility of Evolution: Lessons from Legless Lizards

Thursday 5 November 2015

Thursday 3 December 2015 12:30 pm
Dan Rosauer, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University
Hotspots of evolutionary diversity: where are they, why, and what can we do about them?

Previous meetings - 2014

Thursday 13 March 2014 12:30 pm
Hugh MacIntosh, Museum Victoria
Boring research: ecology, diversity and distribution of shipworms

Thursday 3 April 2014 12:30 pm
M. Roysul Islam, Museum Victoria
Baleen whales of the Southern Ocean: diversity change across 6 million years

Thursday 1 May 2014 12:30 pm

Thursday 5 June 2014 12:30 pm
Patricia Cabezas Smithsonian Institution
Unravelling the evolutionary history of the deep-sea squat lobster Paramunida (Decapoda, Munididae)

Thursday 3 July 2014 12:30 pm
Tim O'Hara, Andrew Hugall, & Adnan Moussalli, Museum Victoria
Industrialising phylogenomics: A 400-plus gene exon-capture strategy for a class of marine invertebrates

Thursday 7 August 2014 12:30 pm
Mark Phuong University of California Los Angeles
Evolvability and diversification: testing macroevolutionary predictions in cone snails

Thursday 4 September 2014 12:30 pm
Greg Bonito Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Co-evolution of fungi and endohyphal bacteria: an ancient trait in lineages of early diverging plant-associated fungi?

Thursday 2 October 2014 12:30 pm

Final meeting for 2014: Thursday 6 November 2014 12:30 pm
Matt McCurry,Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University and Museum Victoria
The ecomorphology of crocodilians and odontocetes

There was no Systematics Forum talk in December 2014

Previous meetings - 2013

Thursday 7 February 2013 12:30 pm
Travis Park, Monash University and Museum Victoria
Evolution and Biogeography of Penguins in Australia

12 midday Monday 4 March 2013
Activity Room A [Activity Room A is almost directly above the Discovery Centre, at plaza entry level, also part of the non-ticketed area of Melbourne Museum]
Carol Stepien, Director of the Lake Erie Center and Distinguished Professor of Ecology, The University of Toledo,Toledo, Ohio, USA
Invasion genetics: Tracing pathways, eDNA, and temporal changes across aquatic ecosystems

Thursday 4 April 2013 12:30 pm Thursday 4 April 2013 12:30 pm
Ken Walker, Museum Victoria
Bower Bird - connecting citizen science communities with taxonomists and national data sets

Thursday 2 May 2013 12:30 pm
Andrew Hugall
, Museum Victoria
Biogeographic patterns in Australian land snails Part 2

Thursday 6 June 2013 12:30 pm Martin F. Gomon [presenter], Museum Victoria, Carl Struthers and Andrew Stewart, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Diversity and interrelationships of the Indo-West Pacific fish family Aulopidae (Sergeant Bakers, Threadsails) - another Ground Hog Day experience

Thursday 25 July 2013 12:30 pm
Robin Wilson, Museum Victoria [presenter], Kristian Fauchald National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Diversity, phylogeny and invasion(s) of the deep sea by scale worms (Polychaeta: Polynoidae)

Thursday 1 August 2013 12:30 pm
Collin Ahrens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
A population genetics primer: from Hardy-Weinberg to next generation sequencing

September 2013 meeting cancelled

Thursday 3 October 2013 12:30 pm
Luisa Teasdale, Museum Victoria
Beginners guide to genomics

Next Meeting

Thursday 7 Nov 2013 12:30 pm

Joanne Birch, Royal Botanic Gardens and Herbarium, Melbourne
The evolutionary history of Poa grasslands in the Australasian-Malesian region

Previous meetings - 2012

Thursday 3 May 2012 6 pm Anna Syme and Franck Stefani Royal Botanic Gardens and Herbarium, Melbourne
Phylogenetic methods using Beast, R and Geneious

Thursday 7 June 2012 6 pm
John Wilkins The University of Melbourne
The Philosophical Origins of Biological Essentialism

Thursday 5 July 2012 6 pm
Malte Ebach University of New South Wales
Bio[phylo]geo[eco]graphy: The multidisiplinary nature of plant and animal geography
Thursday 4 October 2012 6 pm
Richard Marchant Museum Victoria and John Dean Environment Protection Authority, Victoria
A long term study of the factors that influence compositional stability of stream invertebrates

[August, September and November meetings were cancelled]

br>Thursday 2 June 2011 6 pm
Kevin Rowe Museum Victoria
Diversification of rodents in Australia and Papua New Guinea

Thursday 7 July 2011 6 pm
Karen Bell National Herbarium of Victoria and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Biogeography of plants and the insects that occur on them

[23-30 July 2011 XVIII International Botanical Congress, Melbourne]

Thursday 4 August 6 pm
Anna McCallum Museum Victoria
Decapod crustacean diversity along Australia's western continental margin

Thursday 1 September 6 pm

10th anniversary of the Melbourne Systematics Forum!

Andrew Hugall Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne
Stitching-up big trees for biodiversity analysis

Thursday 6 October 6 pm
Ursula Smith Museum Victoria
Geometric morphometric character suites as phylogenetic data: Extracting phylogenetic signal from gastropod shells

Thursday 3 November 6 pm
Richard Marchant Museum Victoria and Ben Kefford (University of Technology, Sydney)
The response of stream invertebrate communities to catchment disturbance on Macquarie Island

NO MEETING December 2011
adjoining and clashing meetings in Adelaide and Melbourne:

[28 November to December 3, 2011 4th International Barcode of Life Conference, Adelaide]
[4-7 December 2011 10th Invertebrate Biodiversity & Conservation / Society of Australian Systematic Biologists Conference, Melbourne]

Previous meetings - 2010

Thurs 4 March 2010 6 pm
Mark Blacket Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation, The University of Melbourne
The origin and evolution of parthenogenesis through hybridisation of closely related species of grasshoppers, stick insects and geckos in the Australian Arid Zone

Thursday 1 April 2010
NO MEETING [since the first Thursday in April precedes Good Friday and many regular participants are travelling, we have opted to cancel the April meeting]

Thursday 6 May 2010 6 pm
David Orlovich Department of Botany, University of Otago, New Zealand
Can't see the forest for the trees: ectomycorrhizal fungi from a phylogenetic standpoint

Thursday 3 June 2010 6 pm
Erich Fitzgerald Museum Victoria
The rise and fall of Toothed Whale (Odontoceti) crown clades: explaining patterns of modern diversity

Thursday 1 July 2010 6 pm
Malte Ebach School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales
Biostrata: Viewing biotic areas in four dimensions

Thursday 5 August 2010 6 pm
Josh Hale Museum Victoria & The University of Melbourne
Why did the frog cross the road? Landscape and conservation genetics of the endangered Growling Grass Frog, Litoria raniformis

Thursday 2 September 2010 6 pm
Jo Browne Museum Victoria & Griffith University
Oh no, my jellyfish has worms! Investigating life cycles and host specificity of digenean parasites of gelatinous zooplankton using DNA.

October meeting CANCELLED

Thursday 4 November 2010 6 pm
Teresa Lebel Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Multiple evolution of truffle form in the Russulales

Thursday 2 December 2010
No meeting<

Previous meetings - 2009

Thurs 5 March 2009 6 pm
Kyatt Dixon School of Botany, The University of Melbourne
The crustose red algal family Peyssonneliaceae from Vanuatu and southeastern Australia
Venue: Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

Thursday 2 April 2009
Gareth HolmesThe University of Melbourne, CESAR and School of Botany
Conservation biology of Grevillea repens

Thursday 7 May 2009 - CANCELLED (sorry)

Thursday 4 June 2009 - CANCELLED (sorry)

Thursday 2 July 2009
Pauline Ladiges School of Botany, The University of Melbourne
Eucalypts and east-west continental vicariance

Thursday 6 August 2009
Rebecca Bray Museum Victoria
Evolution and diversity of immune genes (MHC class II B) in a community of Australian songbirds
Martin Gomon Museum Victoria and Bob Ward CSIRO Marine
Interrelationships of Australian Lepidotrigla (Pisces, Triglidae) - a genetic hypothesis

Thursday 3 September 2009
Andrew Drinnan School of Botany, The University of Melbourne
Evolution of land plant morphology: plant architecture based on primitive land plants

Thursday 1 October 2009
Adnan Moussalli Museum Victoria
A preliminary molecular phylogeny of cuttlefish - is our classification in order?

Thursday 5 November 2009 - CANCELLED

Thursday 3 December 2009 - CANCELLED (was to have been Mark Blacket Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation, The University of Melbourne
speaking on The origin and evolution of parthenogenesis through hybridisation of closely related species of grasshoppers, stick insects and geckos in the Australian Arid Zone but due to a clash with the Australian Systematic Botany Society meeting in Armidale, NSW, this will be rescheduled to a Thursday TBA in 2010.

Previous meetings - 2008

March-May 2008 - no Melbourne Systematics Forum meetings were held

5 June 2008 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Kate Naughton (PhD student, The University of Melbourne and Museum Victoria)
Divergent reproductive mode reveals cryptic speciation in the Lesser Biscuit Star, Tosia australis

Thursday 7 August 2008, 6 pm
Gill Brown will provide an interim report co-authored with Pauline Ladiges and Gary Nelson (all from the School of Botany, The University of Melbourne), from a research network workshop on the Biogeography of the Australian Monsoon Tropics

[No September meeting]

Thursday 2 October 2008, 6 pm
Jim Mant (formerly ANU and postdoc at Geobotanical Institute, ETH Zürich)
Orchid-insect interactions
Thursday 6 November 2008, 6 pm
Gary Nelson School of Botany, The University of Melbourne
150 Years On: Wallace's Line Then and Now

There was no December 2008 meeting

Previous meetings - 2007

1 March 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Euan Ritchie (Postdoctoral Fellow, Herpetology, Museum Victoria)
Macropod macroecology: modelling the distribution and abundance of Australia’s tropical marsupial herbivores
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

April 2007 - no Melbourne Systematics Forum meeting

3 May 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Mike Bayly, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne
Pseudogenes of ribosomal DNA: implications for phylogenetic analysis
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

7 June 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Richard Marchant, Museum Victoria
The use of taxonomic distinctness to assess environmental disturbance of insect communities from running water
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

[ 12-15 June 2007
Australasian Evolution Society 2007 Conference
The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales]

Winter recess - there was no July meeting Melbourne Systematics Forum

[ 9-13 July 2007
Australian Marine Sciences Association 2007 Conference
The University of Melbourne, Victoria]

2 August 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
David Cantrill, Director of the National Herbarium of Victoria
Geological processes and biogeographic interpretation
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

[ 27-31 August 2007
Systematics 2007: Sixth Biennial Conference of the Systematics Association
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, United Kingdom)]

6 September 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum meeting was cancelled

[ 23-26 September 2007
Australian Entomological Society 2007 Conference
Beechworth, Victoria]

[ 23-26 September 2007
Australian Systematic Botany Society 2007 Conference
Darwin, Northern Territory]

4 October 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Gary Nelson, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne
Biogeography and the molecular dating game: A futile revival of phenetics?
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

[ 9-11 October 2007
Australian Coral Reef Society 2007 Conference
Fremantle, Western Australia]

1 November 2007 - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Gary Poore, Museum Victoria
Systematics in a changing world
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

[ 26 - 30 November 2007
Ecological Society of Australia 2007 Conference
Perth, Western Australia]

6 December 2007, 6 pm - Melbourne Systematics Forum
Erich Fitzgerald Museum Victoria
Three and a half years in the belly of the whale: Reflections on the evolution of marine mammals and their role in southern ocean ecosystems
Discovery Centre, Lower Ground, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens

[ 2 - 5 December 2007
Australasian Ornithological Conference 2007
Perth, Western Australia]

[ 3 - 7 December 2007
joint meeting of the Australain Society for Limnology and the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society
Queenstown, New Zealand]

[ 3 - 7 December 2007
The combined 8th Invertebrate Biodiversity & Conservation / Society of Australian Systematic Biologists Conference at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane]

Previous meetings - 2006

6 April 2006
Richard Marchant (Senior Curator, Terrestrial Invertebrates, Museum Victoria)
The connection between regional and local species richness for stream invertebrates in Victoria

4 May 2006
Natalie Nagalingum (Duke University)
Using molecular divergence dating and fossils to estimate the age of heterosporous ferns

1 June 2006
Erich Fitzgerald (Museum Victoria)
Almost Like A Whale: Closing in on the final frontier of cetacean evolution

6 July 2006
Anna Syme (Museum Victoria)
Homoplasy: What is it good for?

3 August 2006
Peter Bernhardt (Professor of Biology, Saint Louis University)
North American and Chinese Lady's Slipper Orchids: A new look at the sexy and successful Cypripedium

7 September 2006
Jo Luck virologist, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria)
Differentiating plant bacterial pathovars

there was no meeting in October 2006

2 November 2006
Luke Shoo (postdoctoral researcher, Herpetology, Museum Victoria)
Montane rainforest birds in Australia’s wet tropics: future prospects in a warming world

7 December 2006
Michael Kearney, Jane Melville & Dan Murphy (The University of Melbourne, Museum Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne)
The origin and maintenance of the arid zone biota: what do we know?

Previous meetings - 2005

Thursday 3 March 2005
6 pm - Erich Fitzgerald (Museum Victoria): New toothed baleen whales from Victoria.
6:30 pm - John Long (Museum Victoria): Fabulous fossil fishes of Gogo.

7 April 2005
Raymond Tremblay (visiting scientist, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne)
Natural selection vs genetic drift: What are the causes of evolution in the Orchidaceae?

5 May 2005
Rod Jones (Department of Primary Industries, Victoria)
Basal clades in the fungal tree of life

2 June 2005
Andrew Stammer and Camilla Myers (CSIRO Publishing)
Electronic Publishing and Systematics: Linnaeus meets Bill Gates

7 July 2005
Paula Cisternas (Museum Victoria)
Larval development and systematics in ophiuroid echinoderms (brittle stars)

4 August 2005
Ian Pascoe (recently retired curator of Victorian Plant Disease Herbarium VPRI)
The influence of taxonomy on international trade

1 September 2005
Gareth Nelson (School of Botany, The University of Melbourne)

6 October 2005
Frank Rheindt (Museum Victoria)
Speciation dynamics in the Australo-Papuan Region: The case of Meliphaga honeyeaters

10 November 2005
Michael Bayly and Alison Kellow
(Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)
The Hebe complex (Plantaginaceae) in New Zealand: systematics and biogeography

Previous meetings - 2004

Thursday 4 March 2004, 6 pm
Jane Melville (Museum Victoria): Using comparative phylogenetics to investigate transcontinental community convergence in desert lizards

Thursday 1 April, 6 pm
John Wilkins (History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Melbourne) The Secret History of the Species Concept

Thursday 6 May 2004, 6 pm
Discussion of:
Dennis McCarthy 2003. The trans-Pacific zipper effect: disjunct sister taxa and matching geological outlines that link the Pacific margins. Journal of Biogeography, 30, 1545-1561

Thursday 3 June 2004

Thursday 1 July 2004

Thursday 5 August 2004, 6 pm
Robin Wilson (Museum Victoria): How old is the deep sea?

Thursday 2 September 2004, 6 pm
Gillian Brown (School of Botany, The University of Melbourne and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne): The life and times of Vireya Rhododendrons in Malesia and neighbouring areas

Thursday 1 July 2004

Thursday 7 October 2004, 6 pm
Mark O'Loughlin (Museum Victoria): Finding congruence between molecular and morphological phylogenies of Asterinidae seastars

Thursday 4 November 2004, 6 pm
Pauline Ladiges (School of Botany, The University of Melbourne): Biogeography of large genera of the Australian flora

Thursday 2 December 2004

Previous meetings - 2003

3 April - Liza Miller (EPA Victoria): Population genetics of a scarab beetle - what can it tell us about evolution?

1 May - Joanne Taylor (Museum Victoria): Dealing with continuous characters and homoplasy in the Phoxocephalidae (Crustacea: Amphipoda).

5 June - Diane Rowe (Museum Victoria): A Cretaceous Origin for Rodents and Paleogene Trans-Oceanic Dispersals. A Glitch in Time or a Stone Unturned?

11 July - Jennifer Brisson (Washington University, St Louis): Local adaptation of abdominal pigmentation in Drosophila polymorpha.
Michael Kearney (University of Sydney): Why give up sex in the desert?

7 August - Niels Klazenga (Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne): On Alignment and Optimisation An abstract and reading list from Niels' talk has been posted to the recent topics page

4 September - Erich Fitzgerald (Museum Victoria): Oligocene Cetacea (Mammalia) from the southern margin of Australia

2 October - Brent Mishler (University of California Berkeley): Biodiversity isn't species: the tree of life, rank-free phylogenetic classification, and the future of bioinformatics & conservation [see: Further information for and against the Phylocode and rank-free classification]

6 November - Geoff McFadden (School of Botany, University of Melbourne): Did humans catch malaria from birds?

Wednesday 12 November 1 pm - Lindell Bromham (Centre for the Study of Evolution, University of East Sussex, UK): Molecular evolution and evolutionary radiations.

Monday 17 November 1 pm - David Lambert (Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Massey University, NZ): Ancient DNA Studies from the 'Southern End of the World.

4 December - Tim O'Hara (Museum Victoria): Gondwana: a marine myth?

Previous meetings - 2002

7 March 2002 - Mark Burgman (Director of Office for Environmental Programs, The University of Melbourne): The march of the cute and furry syndrome: political imperatives for species concepts.

2 May 2002 - John Wilkins (History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Melbourne): So many species [concepts] and only one world.
(A table in pdf summarises the 26 species concepts recognised by John Wilkins. Adobe Acrobat® Reader is a free download available from

6 June 2002 - Frank Udovicic (Royal Botanic Gardens and Herbarium, Melbourne): Ringbarking our trees: why bother with the bootstrap and jackknife?

4 July 2002 - Rolf Schmidt (Department of Invertebrate Palaeontology, Museum Victoria): Biogeography of Eocene Bryozoans of the St Vincent Basin, South Australia.

25 July 2002 - Jeremy Austin (Department of Zoology & Entomology, The University of Queensland [now at the Population and Evolutionary Genetics Unit, Museum Victoria]): Of islands, species and ancient DNA ... molecular perspectives on the evolution of insular faunas.

1 August 2002 - Josh Mackie (Population and Evolutionary Genetics Unit, Museum Victoria): The influence of phylogenetic branching patterns on our understanding of population biology: how much information should we be harvesting from our trees?

5 September - Gary Poore (Museum Victoria Sciences Department): Illuminating relationships with fossils - an exercise with cave-dwelling crustaceans.

3 October 2002 - Dan Murphy (School of Botany, The University of Melbourne): Are we witnessing the death of morphology in phylogeny reconstruction?

7 November 2002 - Tom Rich (Department of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Museum Victoria): Affinities of the earliest Australian fossil mammals.

2 December 2002 - Ken Walker (Museum Victoria Sciences Department) & Peter Neish (Royal Botanic Gardens and Herbarium, Melbourne): Bioinformatics, virtual herbaria, virtual museums.

Previous meetings - 2001

The first meeting of the Melbourne Systematics Forum was in September 2001
6 September 2001 - Ed Newbigin (The Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne): From genomics to species

4 October 2001 - Ary A. Hoffmann (Director, Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, La Trobe University) - Integrated Pest Management and sustainability: a desperate need for systematics?

1 November 2001 - Malte Ebach (School of Botany, The University of Melbourne) & Robin Wilson (Museum Victoria): Historical biogeography - a test for earth history?

6 December 2001 - Mark McDonnell (Divisional Director, Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne): Taxonomic uncertainty and conservation: does it really matter?
the venue
2016 meeting calendar
contact the organisers
previous meetings