Current Projects

The taxonomy of Ptilotus R.Br. and related genera in Amaranthaceae

Ptilotus gaudichaudiiAn on-going project contributing to the taxonomy of Ptilotus and relatives in the amaranth family. This project has produced numerous papers, including the resolution of species groups and description of new species (see publications). Comprehensive identification keys to the species of Ptilotus for Australia and Western Australia are available through the online KeyBase platform:

Flowering plants of Australia: Species of Ptilotus

Flowering plants of Western Australia: Species of Ptilotus

Supervisor: Kevin Thiele

Collaborator: Robert Davis

Resolving  intergeneric relationships in the aervoid clade

Aerva javanicaWe are employing a phylogenomic approach using de novo-assembled plastid genomes within Amaranthaceae to resolve the relationships between the aervoid genera and between the major clades of Ptilotus. Morphology will be utilized to support newly resolved relationships. The resulting phylogeny will inform taxonomic changes within the family and enable further research into the character evolution and biogeography within the aervoids.

Supervisors: Kevin Thiele & Ian Small

Collaborators: Paul Nevill, Catherine Colas des Francs-Small & Xiao Zhong

Historical biogeography and niche evolution within Ptilotus

PD MapPtilotus is an Australian genus with over 115 species, yet its closest relatives (~12 species) in the aervoids occur in Africa and S. Asia. We are investigating the geographic and environmental origins of the aervoids and Ptilotus, and how within Miocene and Pliocene Australia Ptilotus adapted to new niches opening up across the landscape.

Supervisors: Michael Renton, Ladislav Mucina & Kevin Thiele

Collaborator: Paul Macintyre