Herpetology Research at
Museum Victoria
Herpetology home

Jane Melville

Postdocs & Researchers


Past students & researchers

Grants and Projects

Lab News - Hot off the Press!

Our Favourite Links
Jane Melville

Jane Melville

Senior Curator of Herpetology

Ecology and evolution of reptiles and amphibians: molecular systematics, conservation and population genetics. Evolutionary ecology of Agamid lizards and south-east Australian frogs.

My research interests combine field studies with a variety of molecular genetic analyses to study population biology, systematics, evolutionary ecology, and speciation in reptiles and amphibians. Currently, my research is primarily aimed at investigating the evolutionary processes and patterns that shape current communities. While my research focuses on agamid lizards, I have recently undertaken a project investigating historical and current population genetics in south eastern Australian frogs.

Other ongoing projects include the molecular systematics and evolution of Phelsuma geckos, the Cordylus genus and central Asian agamid lizards.

Desert Lizards


Smith K. L., L. J. Harmon, L. P. Shoo and J. Melville. 2008. Evidence that stabilizing selection generates constrained phenotypic evolution in a cryptic species complex from an unstable environment. Evolution (In review).

Melville J., J. M. Hale, G. Mantziou, N. B. Ananjeva, K. Milto and N. Clemann. 2008. Historical biogeography, phylogenetic relationships and intraspecific diversity of agamids lizards in the Central Asian deserts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Journal of Biogeography (In review).

Clemann N., J. Melville, M. P. Scroggie, K. Milto and N. B. Ananjeva. 2008. Microhabitat occupation and functional morphology of four species of sympatric agamid lizards in the Kyzylkum Desert, central Uzbekistan. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation (In review).

Melville J., Shoo L. P., and P. Doughty. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of the heath dragons (Rankinia adelaidensis and R. parviceps) from the southwestern Australian biodiversity hotspot. Australian Journal of Zoology (Acceptance after revision).

Byrne M., D. K. Yeates, L. Joseph, M. Kearney, J. Bowler, M. A. Williams, S. Cooper, S. C. Donnellan, J. S. Keogh, R. Leys, J. Melville, D. J. Murphy, N. Porch, K-H. Wyrwoll. 2008. Birth of a biome: insights into the assembly and maintenance of the Australian arid zone biota. Molecular Ecology (In press).

Harmon L. J, J. Melville , A. Larson A. and J. B. Losos. 2008. The Role of Geography and Ecological Opportunity in the Diversification of Day Geckos (Phelsuma). Systematic Biology 57(4): 562-573.

Shoo L. P., R. Rose, P. Doughty, J.J. Austin and J. Melville. 2008. Diversification patterns of pebble-mimic dragons are consistent with historical disruption of important habitat corridors in arid Australia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 528-542.

Melville J. 2007. Evolutionary correlations between microhabitat specialisation and locomotor capabilities in the lizard genus Niveoscincus. Australian Journal of Zoology 55, 351-355.

Doughty P., B. Maryan, J. Melville, and JJ. Austin. 2007. A new species of Ctenophorus (Lacertilia: Agamidae) from Lake Disappointment, Western Australia. Herpetologica 63(1): 72-86.

Melville, J., S. Goebel, C. Starr, J.S. Keogh and J.J. Austin. 2006. Conservation genetics and species status of an endangered Australian dragon, Tympanocryptis pinguicolla (Reptilia: Agamidae). Conservation Genetics 7: 185-195.

Melville, J., L. Harmon and J.B. Losos. 2006. Intercontinental community convergence of ecology and morphology in desert lizards. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 273: 557 - 563.

Austin, J. J. and J. Melville. 2006. Incorporating historical museum specimens into molecular systematic and conservation genetics research. Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 1089-1092.

Austin J. J., R. J Rose and J. Melville. 2006. Polymorphic microsatellite markers in the painted dragon lizard, Ctenophorus pictus. Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 194-196.

Rose, R. J., and J. Melville. 2006. A New Technique for Measuring Body Color of Small Lizards in the Field. Herpetological Review 37 (2): 191-194.

Rose, R. J., J. Ng and J. Melville. 2006. A New Technique for Measuring Lizards in the Field. Herpetological Review 37 (2): 194-195.

Melville, J., J. A. Schulte II and A. Larson. 2004. A molecular study of phylogenetic relationships and evolution of anti-predator strategies in Australian Diplodactylus geckos, subgenus Strophurus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 82: 123-138.

Melville, J., and R. Swain.2003. Evolutionary correlations between escape behaviour and performance ability in eight species of snow skinks from Tasmania (Niveoscincus: Lygosominae). Journal of Zoology (London) 261: 79-89.

Schulte II, J.A., J. Melville and A. Larson. 2003. Molecular phylogenetic evidence for ancient divergence of lizard taxa on either side of Wallace's Line. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270: 597-603.

Melville, J. 2002. Habitat shift in allopatric vs. sympatric situations in two lizard species: a trade-off between thermal preferences and competition avoidance. Ecology Letters 5: 386-393

Melville, J., J. A. Schulte II and A. Larson. 2001. A molecular phylogenetic study of ecological diversification in the Australian lizard genus Ctenophorus. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 291: 339-353.

Melville, J., and J. A. Schulte II. 2001. Correlates of active body temperatures and microhabitat occupation in nine species of central Australian agamid lizards. Austral Ecology 26: 660-669.

Melville, J., and R. Swain. 2000. Evolutionary relationships between morphology, performance and habitat openness in the lizard genus Niveoscincus (Scincidae: Lygosominae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 70: 667-683.

Melville, J., and R. Swain.2000. Mitochondrial dna-sequence based phylogeny and biogeography of the snow skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Niveoscincus) of Tasmania. Herpetologica 56: 196-208.

Melville, J. and R. Swain 1999 Home Range Characteristics of an Alpine Lizard, Niveoscincus microlepidotus (Scincidae), on Mt Wellington, Southern Tasmania. Wildlife Research 26(3): 263-270.

Melville, J., and R. Swain. 1999. Habitat associations and natural history of the Tasmanian "snow skinks" (Niveoscincus spp.). Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 133 (1): 57-64.

Melville, J., and R. Swain. 1998. Evolutionary relationships within the snow skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Niveoscincus) of Tasmania. IN: Evolutionary Biology at High Southern Latitudes. Australian Institute of Biology, Canberra.

Melville, J., and R. Swain. 1997. Spatial separation in two sympatric skinks, Niveoscincus microlepidotus and N. metallicus, from Tasmania. Herpetologica 53(1): 126-132.

Melville, J., and R. Swain. 1997. Daily and seasonal activity patterns in two species of high altitude skink, Niveoscincus microlepidotus and N. metallicus, from Tasmania. Journal of Herpetology 31(1): 29-37.

Non peer-reviewed articles

Popular science articles
Melville, J. 2005. Venomous Venture. Museum Victoria Magazine: Winter 2005.

Melville, J. 2005. Disappearing Dragons. Australian Academy of Sciences Newsletter: April-July 2005.

Book Chapters
Melville, J., and A. J. Coventry, 2006. Frogs, Freshwater turtles, Lizards and Snakes. In: Melbourne's Wildlife: A field guide to the Fauna of Greater Melbourne (Chapters: 14-17). CSIRO Publishing, Victoria.