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Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84734

Prof Peter Lockhart


School of Fundamental Sciences

Peter studies the adaptive potential of plants, pests and pathogens.  He co-leads a French-New Zealand CNRS laboratory without walls investigating the adaptive potential of New Zealand alpine and French Kerguelen Island plants. He is  coordinator of a UNESCO UNITWIN Network Science for Sustainability in Oceania that is developing in-field DNA diagnostics for plant, animal and human health. His scientific achievements earned him an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship and New Zealand Royal Society Fellowship.


Contact details

  • Ph: X 84734
    Location: 5.07, Science Tower D
    Campus: Hokowhitu

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Genomics, phylogenetics, metagenomics and environmental monitoring, hybridization and climate change adaptation


Resource Development and Management, Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Evolutionary Impacts of Climate Change (060306): Genetics (060400): Genomics (060408): Infectious Agents (060502): Microbiology (060500): Plant Biology (060700): Plant Cell and Molecular Biology (060702)


Genomics, phylogenetics, metagenomics and environmental monitoring, hybridization and climate change adaptation

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 7 16
Project Leader 0 1
Team Member 0 1

Current Projects

Project Title: Improved modelling in evolutionary transcriptomics and proteomics will advance understanding of plant adaptation

Date Range: 2018 - 2021

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Project Title: Enabling in-field DNA diagnosis of pests and pathogens in agriculture, horticulture and viticultures

Date Range: 2015 - 2020

Funding Bodies: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Massey Ventures Ltd

Project Team:

Completed Projects

Project Title: Climate Change Adaptation in Alpine and Sub-Antartic Island Plants

Date Range: 2016 - 2018

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Project Title: Tracing the influence of cultivation on the whakapa of endemic NZ plants with molecular markers

The domestication of plants and animals was the most important development in human history during the past 13 000 years. Most crops are thousands of years old, with aspects of their initial domestication indeterminable. However, the relatively recent settlement of New Zealand by Maori provides a unique opportunity to investigate the early phase of crop domestication. We shall use genetic analyses of four endemic New Zealand plants cultivated by Maori to examine recent domestication: karaka, rengarenga, whau, and coastal kowhai. Prior to human arrival these species are thought to have been restricted to the northern North Island. Their occurrence in the southern North Island, the South Island, and distant Chatham and Kermadec Island groups, which is strongly associated with M?ori archaeological sites, is considered to result from translocations as part of their cultivation. Our analyses will reveal information about the number of times each species was brought into cultivation and the way in which domestication has reduced genetic diversity in the cultivated populations. Our genetic data, combined with traditional oral histories, where available, will reflect and illuminate pre-European Maori settlement routes and mobility.
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Date Range: 2008 - 2011

Funding Body: Marsden Fund - Full

Project Team:

Project Title: Using NZ Pachycladon to understand adaptive plant radiations

Use the native New Zealand plant genus Pachycladon to understand adaptive plant radiations. While some plant lineages have maintained very similar forms over long periods of evolutionary time, others show recent phenotypic diversi? cation. By taking advantage of the resources that are available for Arabidopsis, and the natural diversity within the Pachycladon group, the research team hopes to make an important contribution to understanding the genetic processes important in plant species radiation.
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Date Range: 2006 - 2010

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 2 7
Co-supervisor 6 10

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Richard Fong - Doctor of Philosophy
    Evolution and Rapid Diagnosis of Mycobacterium
  • Sofie Pearson - Doctor of Philosophy
    GBS for selective sweep detection in white clover and perennial ryegrass

Co-supervisor of:

  • Angelia Hura - Doctor of Philosophy
    Northland Brown Kiwi Whakapapa
  • Weixuan Ning - Doctor of Philosophy
    Whole-genome duplication in plants: what is the pathway to success?
  • Malin Undin - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Whakapapa of North Island Brown Kiwi A. mantelli
  • Yongdong Su - Doctor of Philosophy
    Portable assay for the detection of pathogenic DNA
  • Oiwodu Ehoche - Doctor of Philosophy
    Assessing the Potential of Genomic Selection to Improve Yield and Persistence in White Clover
  • Natasha Bansal - Doctor of Philosophy
    Exploring the host-parasite relationship between Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli), kiwi ticks (Ixodes anatis) and kiwi tick-borne haemoparasites

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2016 - Kenneth Sugrim - Doctor of Philosophy
    Commercial and Public Health Applications of DNA Monitoring
  • 2014 - Ibrar Ahmed - Doctor of Philosophy
    Evolutionary dynamics of Taro
  • 2014 - Robin Atherton - Doctor of Philosophy
    Nga Uri o Karaka: An genetic study of karako/kopi in Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • 2013 - Barbara Schoenfeld - Doctor of Philosophy
    The pattern and processes of genome change in endosymbionts old and new
  • 2008 - Carlos Lehnebach - Doctor of Philosophy
    Phylogenetic affinities, species delimitation and adaptive radiation of New Zealand Ranunculus
  • 2007 - Michael Knapp - Doctor of Philosophy
    Discontinuous distributions of iconic New Zealand plant taxa and their implications for Southern Hemisphere biogeography
  • 2002 - Karen Stockler - Doctor of Philosophy
    Origins and Evolution of the New Zealand Forest Flora: A Molecular Phylogenetic Approach.

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2014 - Saumya Agrawal - Doctor of Philosophy
    Characterisation of the human nucleolar organiser regions
  • 2013 - Bojian Zhong - Doctor of Philosophy
    Phylogenomics and Plant Evolution
  • 2013 - Rebecca Bloomer - Doctor of Philosophy
    The molecular genetic basis of natural variation in trichome density in Arabidopsis Thaliana
  • 2012 - Kerryn Slack - Doctor of Philosophy
    Avian Phylogeny and & Divergence Times based on Mitogenomic Sequences
  • 2012 - Roger Watkins - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Biogeographym Ecology and Endophyte mycorrhiza of the New Zealand Corybas Alliance (orchidaceae)
  • 2009 - Andrew Clarke - Doctor of Philosophy
    Origins and Dispersal of the Sweet Potato and Bottle Gourd in Oceania: Implications for Prehistoric Human Mobility
  • 2002 - Yu-Hsin Lin - Doctor of Philosophy
    Mammalian Evolution and phylogeny from Complete Mitochondrial Genomes.
  • 2002 - Leon Perrie - Doctor of Philosophy
    Morphological and Genetic Diversity of the Fern Genus #Polystichum# Roth (Dryopteridaceae) in New Zealand.
  • 2001 - Nicole Von Maltzahn - Doctor of Philosophy
    Molecular Typing and Phylogenetic Analysis of #Candida# #albicans# Isolates from Different Patient Populations.
  • 1995 - Sivalingam Sivakumaran - Doctor of Philosophy
    Identification of Soil Bacteria Expressing a Symbiotic Plasmid from #Rhizobium# #leguminosarum# Biovar Trifolii.

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