Phoenix Group

Evolutionary Ecology & Genetics


Principal Investigators

Mary Morgan-Richards

Steve Trewick



Postdoctoral Fellows

Gillian Gibb

Simon Hills

Steve Trewick & tui


Ka hou ki te whenua, he tūngoungou; ka puta ki te rangi he pepe

[The pupa enters the earth; a moth emerges to the sky]


Briar Smith
Ground weta speciation.

Lizzie Daly
Snail diversification.

Jo Fitness
Cave weta taxonomy.

Kath Walker
Powelliphanta snail taxonomy & conservation.

Michael Gemmell
Molecules and fossils marine mollusc speciation patterns.

Felix Vaux
Molecules and fossils marine mollusc speciation patterns.

Emily Koot
Climate change and grasshopper biodiversity



Benjamin Bridgeman
Wolbachia and New Zealand invertebrates.

Louisa Sivyer
Niche-modelling & genetics in Phaulacridium grasshoppers


Graduate visitors to Phoenix Click the link

being PC 2


Order of the Phoenix: Graduate Alumni:
Ka haere te pipi aihe, ka noho te tūmū whakarae.
[The drifting pipi goes off, the headland remains fixed]

Lena Olley
MSc: Spatial partitioning of morphological and genetic variation in the New Zealand falcon (Falco naeseelandiae).

Dr Mariana Bulgarella <> Former postdoctoral fellow. Currently at University of Minnesota, USA.

Dr Cilla Wehi <> Former postdoctoral fellow. Currently at Landcare New Zealand, Dunedin.

Dr Juan-Carlos Garcia Ramirez <> PhD: The influence of space and time on the genetic architecture of rail species- Aves Rallidae.

Dr Eddy Dowle <>.
PhD: Rates of molecular evolution and gene flow. Currently a research fellow at Kansas State University, USA.

Moniqua Nelson-Tunely <> MSc: Population fragmentation in the small-sclaed skink (Oligosoma microlepis): the consequences of human landscape transformation on a habiatat specialist's distribution, morphology and genetics.
Now consultant ecologists with EcoGecko

Emily Koot
Msc: A clarfication of New Zealand Peripatoides divesity (Onychophora).
Now Phd student at Massey University.

Niki Minards MSc: Physiological ecology of two tree weta species.
Now at Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre MMIC

Dr Rashmi Kant PhD: Reproductive behaviour and fitness trade-offs in the aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae).
Now lecturer at University of South Pacific in Samoa.

Dr Prasad Doddala PhD: Systematics & ecology of Eucolaspis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and ecolog of Hawke's Bay lineage.
Now studying yellow fever mosquito at the Division of Chemical Ecology at SLU, Sweden

Dr Julia Goldberg <> PhD: Speciation and phylogeography in the New Zealand archipelago.
Now postdoctoral fellow at Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany.

Briar Smith
BSc Honours: The distribution, phylogeography and morphology of the New Zealand ground weta, Hemiandrus maculifrons.
Now PhD at Massey University.

Phoenix robots

Ashley Murphy
BSc Honours: The unique origin and maintenance of a hybrid zone within common gecko, Woodworthia maculata, on the south Wellington coast, New Zealand.
Now PhD candidate at Monash University, Australia.

Dr Simon Hills
PhD: Evolution in a marine gastropod: rocks, clocks, DNA and diversity.
Now Postdoctoral fellow at Massey University

Melissa Griffin
MSc: Wellington tree weta (Hemideina crassidens) diet and the effect of some of their dietary choices.
Recently at Plant & Food Research, Auckland.

Jo Fitness
Msc: Wellington geckos meet Wairarapa geckos: hybirdisation between two genetically and morphologically distinct populations of the New Zealand common gecko complext (Hoplodactylus maculatus).
Now PhD student at Massey University.

Tarsha McKean
MSc: Hybridization in North Island tree weta. Now doing PhD working on development of a sheep model for Alzeimer.s Disease research, at University of Auckland.

Robyn Dewhurst
MSc: The diet of tree weta: natural and captive folivory preferences of Hemideina crassidens and H. thoracica.

Shelley Myers
BSc Honours: Putting the pieces together; combining genetic techniques to investigate Acanthoxyla's origin. Hybridisation, polyploidy and more).
Now postdoctoral research fellow at Cemson University, South Carolina, USA

Esta Chappell
MSc: Morphology, phylogeography and drumming behaviou of a New Zealand ground weta, Hemiandrus pallitarsis.
Now research assistant at Senckenberg Research Insititute, Germany

Gaia O'hara
MSc Hons: The lice from four species of rails in New Zealand.


melissa griffin

Tarsha Mckean

Rheyda Hinlo
MSc: Population genetics and conservation of the Philippine crocodile. Recently National Project Coordinator, Protected Areas & Wildlife Bureau, Philippines.

Renae Pratt
PhD: weta phylogenetics. Recently postdoctoral fellow at Australian National University, working with Marcel Cardillo.

Melissa Jackobson
BSc Honours: tree weta.
Now Environmental Educator for Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust

Lorraine Cook
BSc Honours: Systematics and genetic diversity of New Zealand cave weta (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae)- the genus Gymnoplectron Hutton (1897).
Now working for New Zealand Conservation Department

Tarryn wyman
BSc honours: Tree weta as herbivores and seed dispersers. PhD at University of Canterbury.


Phoenix group at Christmas