Dr Gillian Gibb staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 85672

Dr Gillian Gibb

Research Officer

Institute of Agriculture and Environment

I am interested in the molecular evolution of birds and animals.  My research interests include New Zealand birds, island avian assemblages, the impact of the KT boundary on avian evolution, mitochondrial genome assembly, gene order, long branch attraction, phylogenetics and systematics. 

I completed my PhD with Professor David Penny in 2010, and since then have undertaken postdoctoral positions at the Australian National University in Canberra, and the University of Montpellier II in France. My previous research has revolved around mitochondrial genomes and phylogenetics of birds, marsupials and Xenarthrans (armadillos, anteaters and sloths)

Professional

Prizes and Awards

  • Awarded a two year Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to undertake a full-time research programme at Massey University - (2011)
  • Ernst Mayr Symposium finalist, Evolution Meeting (Portland, Oregon) 2010 - (2010)
  • Ernst Mayr Symposium finalist, Evolution Meeting (Stonybrook, New York) 2006 - (2006)
  • Awarded Best student talk (biological) at the NZ Phylogenetics Conference (Kaikoura, NZ) 2009 - (2009)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

As a Rutherford Postdoctoral fellow, I am investigating the genetic architecture of flightlessness in island birds using comparative genomics. My focus is on the New Zealand rails, including takahe, pukeko, weka, and banded rail. Modern DNA sequencing technology allows the investigation of ecological traits and the link between genotype and phenotype (molecules and morphology) on a scale previously impossible.

Flightlessness has evolved independently numerous times within birds, and especially within the rails. My research focuses on the genome level differences between flighted and flightless sister species. One prediction of flightlessness is that it requires less energy. I am investigating metabolic gene pathways for evidence of relaxed selection in flightless rails. Flightless birds also have relatively reduced wings and tails, and increased body size relative to their flighted sister species.

Thematics

Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Animal Systematics and Taxonomy (060301): Biological Adaptation (060303): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Genetics (060400): Genome Structure and Regulation (060407): Genomics (060408): Molecular Evolution (060409): Speciation and Extinction (060311): Vertebrate Biology (060809): Zoology (060800)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 0

Current Projects

Project Title: Why fly when you can walk? Genetic pathways to flightlessness

Date Range: 2017 - 2020

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Journal

Trewick, SA., Pilkington, S., Shepherd, LD., Gibb, GC., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2017). Closing the gap: Avian lineage splits at a young, narrow seaway imply a protracted history of mixed population response. Molecular Ecology. 26(20), 5752-5772
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., Morgan-Richards, M., Trewick, S.
Dodt, WG., McComish, BJ., Nilsson, MA., Gibb, GC., Penny, D., & Phillips, MJ. (2016). The complete mitochondrial genome of the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus). Mitochondrial DNA. 27(2), 1366-1367
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Condamine, FL., Kuch, M., Enk, J., Moraes-Barros, N., Superina, M., . . . Delsuc, F. (2016). Shotgun mitogenomics provides a reference phylogenetic framework and timescale for living xenarthrans. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 33(3), 621-642
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Delsuc, F., Gibb, GC., Kuch, M., Billet, G., Hautier, L., Southon, J., . . . Poinar, HN. (2016). The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts. Current Biology. 26(4), R155-R156
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., England, R., Hartig, G., McLenachan, PA., Smith, BLT., McComish, BJ., . . . Penny, D. (2015). New Zealand passerines help clarify the diversification of major songbird lineages during the oligocene. Genome Biology and Evolution. 7(11), 2983-2995
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., McLenachan, P.
Mitchell, KJ., Pratt, RC., Watson, LN., Gibb, GC., Llamas, B., Kasper, M., . . . Cooper, A. (2014). Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of Marsupials. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 31(9), 2322-2330
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
García-R, JC., Gibb, GC., & Trewick, SA. (2014). Eocene diversification of crown group rails (Aves: Gruiformes: Rallidae). PLoS ONE. 9(10)
[Journal article]Authored by: Garcia-R, J., Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Garcia-R, JC., Gibb, GC., & Trewick, SA. (2015). Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: Diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird family Rallidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 81, 96-108
[Journal article]Authored by: Garcia-R, J., Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Mahmood, MT., McLenachan, PA., Gibb, GC., & Penny, D. (2014). Phylogenetic position of avian nocturnal and diurnal raptors. Genome Biology and Evolution. 6(2), 326-332
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., McLenachan, P.
Gibb, GC., Kennedy, M., & Penny, D. (2013). Beyond phylogeny: Pelecaniform and ciconiiform birds, and long-term niche stability. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 68(2), 229-238
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Phillips, MJ., Haouchar, D., Pratt, RC., Gibb, GC., & Bunce, M. (2013). Inferring Kangaroo Phylogeny from Incongruent Nuclear and Mitochondrial Genes. PLoS ONE. 8(2)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., & Hills, SFK. (2013). Intergenerational mutation rate does not equal long-term evolutionary substitution rate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110(8)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., Hills, S.
Bromham, L., Lanfear, R., Cassey, P., Gibb, G., & Cardillo, M. (2012). Reconstructing past species assemblages reveals the changing patterns and drivers of extinction through time. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 279(1744), 4024-4032
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Saurabh, K., Holland, BR., Gibb, GC., & Penny, D. (2012). Gaps: An Elusive Source of Phylogenetic Information. Systematic Biology. 61(6), 1075-1082
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Trewick, SA., & Gibb, GC. (2010). Vicars, tramps and assembly of the New Zealand avifauna: A review of molecular phylogenetic evidence. Ibis. 152(2), 226-253
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Phillips, MJ., Gibb, GC., Crimp, EA., & Penny, D. (2010). Tinamous and moa flock together: Mitochondrial genome sequence analysis reveals independent losses of flight among ratites. Systematic Biology. 59(1), 90-107
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., & Penny, D. (2010). Two aspects along the continuum of pigeon evolution: A South-Pacific radiation and the relationship of pigeons within Neoaves. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 56(2), 698-706
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Pratt, RC., Gibb, GC., Morgan-Richards, M., Phillips, MJ., Hendy, MD., & Penny, D. (2009). Toward resolving deep neoaves phylogeny: Data, signal enhancement, and priors. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 26(2), 313-326
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., Morgan-Richards, M.
Millar, CD., Dodd, A., Anderson, J., Gibb, GC., Ritchie, PA., Baroni, C., . . . Lambert, DM. (2008). Mutation and evolutionary rates in adélie penguins from the antarctic. PLoS Genetics. 4(10)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Kardailsky, O., Kimball, RT., Braun, EL., & Penny, D. (2007). Mitochondrial genomes and avian phylogeny: complex characters and resolvability without explosive radiations.. Mol Biol Evol. 24(1), 269-280
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Kardailsky, O., Kimball, RT., Braun, EL., & Penny, D. (2007). Mitochondrial genomes and avian phylogeny: Complex characters and resolvability without explosive radiations. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 24(1), 269-280
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Phillips, M., McLenachan, P., Down, C., Gibb, G., & Penny, D. (2006). Combined mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences resolve the interrelations of the major Australasian marsupial radiations. Systematic Biology. 55(1), 122-137
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G., McLenachan, P.
Ritchie, PA., Millar, CD., Gibb, GC., Baroni, C., & Lambert, DM. (2004). Ancient DNA Enables Timing of the Pleistocene Origin and Holocene Expansion of Two Adélie Penguin Lineages in Antarctica. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 21(2), 240-248
[Journal article]Authored by: Gibb, G.

Thesis

Gibb, GC. (2010). Birds in a tree: A journey through avian phylogeny, with particular emphasis on the birds of New Zealand. (Doctoral Thesis, Massey University)
[Doctoral Thesis]Authored by: Gibb, G.

Conference

Gibb, GC., & Trewick, SA. (2014, February). Why fly when you can walk?. Presented at Waiheke 2014, The 18th Annual New Zealand Phylogenomics Meeting
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Garcia-R, JC., Gibb, G., & Trewick, S. (2015). Comparative evolution of the rails (Aves: Rallidae) in Australasia: Phylogeography analysis of supertramp species. In 26th International Ornithological Congress abstract booklet Vol. 156 , 26th International Ornithological Congress (IOC 2014)
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Garcia-R, J., Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Garcia-R, JC., Gibb, G., & Trewick, S. (2014). “Rail ways”. Poster session presented at the meeting of 26th International Ornithological Congress. Tokyo, Japan
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Garcia-R, J., Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Gibb, GC., & Trewick, SA. (2013, November). Why fly when you can walk?. Presented at Phylomania 2013
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Gibb, GC., & Trewick, SA. (2013, December). Why fly when you can walk? The evolution of flightlessness in Rails. Presented at Australasian Ornithological Conference 2013
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Gibb, GC., Kennedy, M., & Penny, D.Beyond phylogeny: pelecaniform and ciconiiform birds, and long-term niche stability.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Kuch, M., Poinar, H., & Delsuc, F. (2012, January). Next generation mitogenomics: new results from modern and fossil xenarthrans. Presented at The 16th Annual New Zealand Phylogenetics Meeting. Kaikoura, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Kuch, M., Poinar, H., & Delsuc, F. (2011, September). Insights into Xenarthran phylogeny: a study of anteaters, armadillos and sloths using complete mitochondrial DNA. Presented at Evolutionary Biology Meeting. Marseilles, France.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Sérol, D., Tibi, A., Tilak, M., Sire, J-Y., & Delsuc, F. (2011). Retracing the genetic origins of enamel loss during the evolutionary history of xenarthran mammals.. Poster session presented at the meeting of 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. Tübingen, Germany
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC. (2010, February). New Zealand passerines help resolve basal oscine phylogeny. Presented at New Zealand Phylogenetics Conference. Whakapapa Village, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Penny, D., & Trewick, SA. (2009, February). Niche stability in New Zealand birds: integrating phylogeny, morphology, life history and palaeontology.. Presented at GeoGenes IV. Christchurch New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., & Hills, SF. (2009). BioTechniques: Fundamental Techniques in Molecular Biotechnology.. Poster session presented at the meeting of BioEd, Christchurch
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Gibb, G., Hills, S.
Gibb, GC. (2009, February). Untangling Pelecaniformes: The Phylogeny Of Pelecaniformes Using Mitochondrial DNA.. Presented at New Zealand Phylogenetics Conference. Kaikoura, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC. (2008, August). Untangling Pelecaniformes: The Phylogeny Of Pelecaniformes Using Mitochondrial DNA.. Presented at Society for Avian Paleontology and Evolution. Sydney, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC. (2008). Flight of the Kereru.. Poster session presented at the meeting of Tikanga & Technology: A new net goes fishing. Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Goldberg, J., Trewick, SA., & Penny, D. (2008, July). The Multiscale Nature of Phylogeny: A case study using the New Zealand Pigeon (Kereru).. Presented at Genetics Society of Australasia. Adelaide.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Goldberg, J., Trewick, SA., & Penny, D. (2008, February). The Multiscale Nature of Phylogeny: A case study using the New Zealand Pigeon (Kereru).. Presented at New Zealand Phylogenetics Conference. Whitianga, NZ.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G., Trewick, S.
Trewick, SA., & Gibb, GC. (2007, December). Assembly of the New Zealand Avifauna – 50 years and 10,000 nucleotides on.. Presented at Australasian Ornithological Conference. Perth, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., Goldberg, J., & Trewick, SA. (2007, June). Pigeon Evolution: Integrating from barcoding to the tree of life.. Presented at Evolution. Christchurch.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.
Gibb, GC., & Penny, D. (2006, June). Mitochondrial Genomes and Avian Phylogeny: Complex Characters and Resolvability without Explosive Radiations. Presented at Evolution. Stonybrook, New York.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.

Other

Gibb, GC. (2013, June). What can DNA tell us about the evolution of birds in New Zealand?. In Ornithological Society of New Zealand Manawatu Branch.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gibb, G.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
CoSupervisor 0 1

Completed Doctoral Supervision

CoSupervisor of:

Media and Links

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