Tate lab at Massey University  







Gaya atiquipana (Malvaceae)

Nototriche pediculariifolia (Malvaceae)

Libertia (Iridaceae)

Tragopogon mirus (Asteraceae)

Tragopogon miscellus (Asteraceae)


Our research focuses on understanding the nature of plant speciation and diversification using a variety of approaches. We use molecular phylogenetics to test ideas of species relationships, taxonomy, biogeography, and character evolution.  We also use morphological and molecular tools to understand different evolutionary processes affecting plant speciation, including hybridization and polyploidy (whole genome doubling) and plant mating systems.  A recurrent theme of our research is to assess and understand the repeatability of evolution and its effects on morphological and genomic level traits.




March 2022: Congratulations to Tingyu Qin for submission of her MSc thesis on Corybas (Orchidaceae)

November 2021: Congratulations to Sophie Newmarch for successful conversion of her MSc to a PhD and securing a Vice Chancellor’s PhD scholarship from Massey

March 2021:  Welcome to Hannah Hodgkinson who is starting her PhD on clover epigenetics at AgResearch!

March 2021: Super excited that our paper on polyploidy on islands is finally published – this was truly a team effort of fantastic people working together across multiple time zones! https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2021.637214

January 2021: Congratulations to Sofie Pearson for submitting her PhD thesis – some great papers to come from this work!

September 2020: Congratulations to Sophie Newmarch on her successful application to the Australasian Systematic Botany Society Hansjörg Eichler Research Fund to support her research on phylogenomics of Libertia (Iridaceae).

September 2020: Congratulations to Grace Ehoche on the successful defense on her PhD research – with no emendations!!

May 2020:  Congratulations to Weixuan Ning on his successful confirmation exam!

2020:  yeah, let’s just not even go there…except happy to launch our new BSc in Plant Science at Massey – refreshed for the new year and new courses coming!

December 2019: Congratulations to Sidra Hussain on her successful confirmation exam!

December 2019: Congratulations to Dr Kay Pilkington, who successfully defended her PhD!  Way to go Kay!

November 2019: Heading to the ASBS/NZPCN meeting in Wellington – looking forward to a week of awesome talks and networking!

September 2019: Welcome to Dr Maggie Hanes – our sabbatical visitor for the year, visiting us from Eastern Michigan University. Maggie works on Malvaceae, mostly from Madagascar, so excited to talk about mallows!

July 2019: Congratulations to Weixuan Ning on his successful application to the Australasian Systematic Botany Society Hansjörg Eichler Research Fund to support his research on polyploidy in New Zealand Azorella (Apiaceae).

June 2019: We are very excited to welcome Demet Töre from Turkey and Usama Muhktar from Pakistan to work on our polyploidy project. Our international lab is growing!

January 2019:  We are recruiting two PhD students to work on our Marsden-funded project on cytonuclear evolution in polyploids. Note: these positions are now closed.

December 2018:  Off to the ASBS meeting in Brisbane – ready for a great week of systematics talks!  Weixuan is heading out into the field with co-supervisor Heidi Meudt to hunt down some alpine plants.

November 2018:  Very excited to be the recipient of a Marsden Fund to study the cytonuclear aspects of polyploid genome evolution. This project is in collaboration with Murray Cox (Massey), Dan Sloan (Colorado State), and Doug and Pam Soltis (University of Florida/Florida Museum of Natural History). We will be recruiting two PhD students to work on this project, so watch this space!

October 2018: A big welcome to Weixuan Ning to the lab!  Weixuan is a new PhD student who will be working on a Marsden-funded project exploring polyploid diversification in native New Zealand plants.  Very excited to have him as part of our enthusiastic polyploid team, which includes Bill Lee (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research), Heidi Meudt and Patrick Brownsey (Te Papa Tongarewa, The Museum of New Zealand)!

September 2018:  A big welcome to Sidra Hussain to the lab!  Sidra is a new PhD student who will study cytonuclear genome coordination in Tragopogon polyploids. Very excited to have her dive into the complexity of these polyploid genomes!