Dr Libby Liggins staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 49062

Dr Libby Liggins

Lecturer in Marine Ecology

Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

I am a lecturer in marine ecology and a research associate of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. My research is interested in the generation, maintenance, and changing nature of biogeographic, ecological and demographic patterns in the ocean. I specialise in using genetic and genomic data, in combination with ecological data and modelling approaches. Alongside my research I am an active participant in science outreach and community engagement. I also collaborate in several international research consortia, advocating open data, knowledge transfer, and free access to population genetic and spatial seascape genetic analysis tools.

Professional

Contact details

  • Location: 5.06, 5
    Campus: Ōtehā Rohe

Prizes and Awards

  • Finalist for Zonta Women in Science Award, one of three - Zonta (2016)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My research is interested in the generation, maintenance, and changing nature of biogeographic, ecological and demographic patterns in the ocean. I specialise in using molecular genetic and genomic data, in combination with ecological data and modelling approaches. My work addresses the origins of native and invasive taxa, biodiversity gradients, the assembly of marine communities, and population connectivity among regions, at local and global scales. My current research focuses on edge-of-species-range dynamics, characterising the potential for range expansion based on dispersal potential, population demography, and the genetic characteristics of populations. Alongside my research I am an active participant in science outreach and community engagement. I also collaborate in several international research consortia, advocating open data, knowledge transfer, and free access to population genetic and spatial seascape genetic analysis tools.

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Animal Systematics and Taxonomy (060301): Biogeography and Phylogeography (060302): Biological Sciences (060000): Community Ecology (060202): Ecology (060200): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Evolutionary Impacts of Climate Change (060306): Genetics (060400): Genomics (060408): Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205): Population Ecology (060207): Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics (060411)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 3 0
Team Member 0 1

Current Projects

Project Title: Genetic diversity and connectivity of Beveridge Reef and Niue's marine diversity in an Indo-Pacific wide context

Date Range: 2017 - 2018

Funding Body: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Niue

Project Team:

Project Title: RSNZ - Rutherford Post Doc Fellowship: Determining the potential for a range shift in a non-native marine ecosystem engineer - Libby Liggins

The Australian long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) that has shifted its range into northeast New Zealand over the last 60 years is a voracious herbivore capable of destroying our kelp-dominated ecosystems. To help us understand the constraints and potential triggers of further range shifts in this species, this project will use seascape genomic analyses and forward population demographic-genetic simulations. These approaches will help elucidate the environmental features that correlate with the population demography and certain genetic characteristics of C. rodgersii. Overall, the project aims to forecast the threat posed by C. rodgersii in New Zealand, and provide a road-map of which populations have the potential to trigger a range shift.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2016 - 2018

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Completed Projects

Project Title: Kimihia te me ngaro - Seek the things being lost: Incorporating traditional ecological knowledge in assessments of toheroa abundance

Date Range: 2016 - 2017

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Journal

Bronstein, O., Kroh, A., Tautscher, B., Liggins, L., & Haring, E. (2017). Cryptic speciation in pan-tropical sea urchins: A case study of an edge-of-range population of Tripneustes from the Kermadec Islands. Scientific Reports. 7(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Pope, LC., Liggins, L., Keyse, J., Carvalho, SB., & Riginos, C. (2015). Not the time or the place: The missing spatio-temporal link in publicly available genetic data. Molecular Ecology. 24(15), 3802-3809
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Kingsford, MJ., O'Callaghan, MD., Liggins, L., & Gerlach, G. (2017). The short-lived neon damsel Pomacentrus coelestis: implications for population dynamics. Journal of Fish Biology. 90(5), 2041-2059
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Parobek, CM., Archer, FI., DePrenger-Levin, ME., Hoban, SM., Liggins, L., & Strand, AE. (2017). skelesim: an extensible, general framework for population genetic simulation in R. Molecular Ecology Resources. 17(1), 101-109
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Riginos, C., Crandall, ED., Liggins, L., Bongaerts, P., & Treml, EA. (2016). Navigating the currents of seascape genomics: How spatial analyses can augment population genomic studies. Current Zoology. 62(6), 581-601
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Aguirre, JD., Bollard-Breen, B., Cameron, M., Constantine, R., Duffy, CAJ., Dunphy, B., . . . Wilson, R. (2016). Loved to pieces: Toward the sustainable management of the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf. Regional Studies in Marine Science. 8, 220-233
[Journal article]Authored by: Aguirre, J., Liggins, L., Smith, A.
Liggins, L., Treml, EA., Possingham, HP., & Riginos, C. (2016). Seascape features, rather than dispersal traits, predict spatial genetic patterns in co-distributed reef fishes. Journal of Biogeography. 43(2), 256-267
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Richards, ZT., & Liggins, L. (2015). Scleractinian corals and Crown-of-thorns seastars of the Kermadec Islands. Bulletin of the Auckland Museum. 20, 337-340
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Liggins, L., Booth, DJ., Figueira, WF., Treml, EA., Tonk, L., Ridgway, T., . . . Riginos, C. (2015). Latitude-wide genetic patterns reveal historical effects and contrasting patterns of turnover and nestedness at the range peripheries of a tropical marine fish. Ecography. 38(12), 1212-1224
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Crandall, ED., Treml, EA., Liggins, L., Gleeson, L., Yasuda, N., Barber, PH., . . . Riginos, C. (2014). Return of the ghosts of dispersal past: Historical spread and contemporary gene flow in the blue sea star Linckia laevigata. Bulletin of Marine Science. 90(1), 399-425
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Liggins, L., Gleeson, L., & Riginos, C. (2014). Evaluating edge-of-range genetic patterns for tropical echinoderms, Acanthaster planci and Tripneustes gratilla, of the Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific. Bulletin of Marine Science. 90(1), 379-397
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Liggins, L., Treml, EA., & Riginos, C. (2013). Taking the Plunge: An Introduction to Undertaking Seascape Genetic Studies and using Biophysical Models. Geography Compass. 7(3), 173-196
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Riginos, C., & Liggins, L. (2013). Seascape Genetics: Populations, Individuals, and Genes Marooned and Adrift. Geography Compass. 7(3), 197-216
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Torkkola, J., Riginos, C., & Liggins, L. (2013). Regional patterns of mtDNA diversity in Styela plicata, an invasive ascidian, from Australian and New Zealand marinas. Marine and Freshwater Research. 64(2), 139-145
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Huelsken, T., Keyse, J., Liggins, L., Penny, S., Treml, EA., & Riginos, C. (2013). A novel widespread cryptic species and phylogeographic patterns within several giant clam species (cardiidae: Tridacna) from the Indo-Pacific ocean. PLoS ONE. 8(11)
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Mirams, AGK., Treml, EA., Shields, JL., Liggins, L., & Riginos, C. (2011). Vicariance and dispersal across an intermittent barrier: Population genetic structure of marine animals across the Torres Strait land bridge. Coral Reefs. 30(4), 937-949
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Ryan, KG., Cowie, ROM., Liggins, E., McNaughtan, D., Martin, A., & Davy, SK. (2009). The short-term effect of irradiance on the photosynthetic properties of antarctic fast-ice microalgal communities. Journal of Phycology. 45(6), 1290-1298
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Liggins, L., Chapple, DG., Daugherty, CH., & Ritchie, PA. (2008). Origin and post-colonization evolution of the Chatham Islands skink (Oligosoma nigriplantare nigriplantare). Molecular Ecology. 17(14), 3290-3305
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.
Liggins, L., Chapple, DG., Daugherty, CH., & Ritchie, PA. (2008). A SINE of restricted gene flow across the Alpine Fault: Phylogeography of the New Zealand common skink (Oligosoma nigriplantare polychroma). Molecular Ecology. 17(16), 3668-3683
[Journal article]Authored by: Liggins, L.

Report

Clark, MR., Trnski, T., Constantine, R., Aguirre, JD., Barker, J., Betty, E., . . . van Oosterom, L.(2017). Biodiversity of the Kermadec Islands and offshore waters of the Kermadec Ridge: report of a coastal, marine mammal and deep-sea survey (TAN1612). (Report No. New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 179). : Ministry for Primary Industries
[Technical Report]Authored by: Aguirre, J., Betty, E., Liggins, L.
Albert, S., Grinham, A., Bythell, J., Olds, A., Schwarz, A., Abernethy, K., . . . Gibbes, B.(2012). Building social and ecological resilience to climate change in Roviana, Solomon Islands. (Report No. Component 2 Final Report).
[Technical Report]Authored by: Liggins, L.

Conference

Eme, DA., Liggins, L., Myers, E., Roberts, CD., Struthers, CD., Kortet, S., . . . Anderson, MJ. (2017, July). Building the molecular phylogeny of New Zealand marine bony fishes: a first step toward understanding phylogenetic diversity across latitude and depth. Presented at New Zealand Marine Sciences Society. 56th annual conference. Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Eme, D., Liggins, L.
Aguirre, JD., Liggins, LJ., & Muir,, PR. (2016). Doing whatever it takes to survive: examining morphological divergence in high-latitude, reef-building corals. In E. Golder, & A. Connell (Eds.) Proceedings of Kermadec – Discoveries and Connections. (pp. 61 - 63). : Kermadec – Discoveries and Connections
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: Aguirre, J., Liggins, L.
Liggins, LJ., Treml,, E., Aguirre, JD., & Trnski,, T. (2016). A building biodiversity story for the shallow marine biodiversity of the Kermadec Archipelago. In E. Golder,, & A. Connell, (Eds.) Proceedings of Kermadec – Discoveries and Connections. (pp. 58 - 60). : Kermadec – Discoveries and Connections
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: Aguirre, J., Liggins, L.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Co-supervisor 2 0

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Hochang Yoo - Doctor of Philosophy
    Development of cultivation methods for New Zealand brown algae.
  • Lizzy Myers - Doctor of Philosophy
    Functional biodiversity of New Zealand's marine fishes versus depth

Media and Links

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey