Dr Rose Andrew

Lecturer - School of Environmental and Rural Science

Rose Andrew

Phone: +61 2 6773 3160

Email: randre20@une.edu.au

Biography

I joined UNE in 2014 as a Lecturer in Plant Molecular Ecology. I have a diverse background in the ecology, genetics and evolution of wild and domesticated organisms. My PhD was on the quantitative and ecological genetics of chemical defences in Eucalyptus leaves, using microsatellites, analytical chemistry and field experiments. The postdoctoral work I undertook in Canada involved ecological experiments, landscape genetics and population genomics in a recently-diverged sunflower (Helianthus) ecotype growing in extreme conditions in active sand dunes. My current focus is on the genomics of adaptation and speciation, with particular emphasis on their relationship to the landscape. Along the way, I have collaborated on corals, diatoms, birds and crops.

Qualifications

BSc (Hons - ANU), PhD (ANU), Killam Postdoctoral Fellow (University of British Columbia)

Teaching Areas

EVOL211/411 - Evolution and Biogeography (Coordinator)

ECOL320 - Molecular Ecology (Coordinator)*

* NEW IN 2014 - please contact me for more information

Research Interests

landscapes - ecology - gene flow - evolution

Eucalyptus hybridisation and adaptation

Eucalyptus offers an unique opportunity to investigate the sources of allelic variation underlying adaptive radiation. It is a species-rich (>700 species) genus, primarily consisting of essential foundation species on which entire ecosystems of interacting organisms depend. The box-ironbark eucalypt group has a central role in a number of protected communities (e.g. the Yellow Box-White Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland). Many of its species co-occur over broad areas, creating replicated hybrid zones and the opportunity to investigate the relationship between divergence between species and local adaptation. Although many eucalypt species hybridise and some have become textbook examples, our understanding of the evolutionary significance and adaptive value of interspecific gene flow is limited. My research uses whole-genome and reduced representation sequencing in the box-ironbark eucalypts to address fundamental evolutionary questions:

  • How does spatial scale affect the genomic structure of divergence?
  • Is the locally-adaptive variation identified by landscape genomics methods shared among species?
  • Is new, introgressed or standing genetic variation involved in local adaptation within species?

The genomics of pollinator-driven speciation in Australian sexually-deceptive orchids

Many Australian terrestrial orchid species have a trick up their sleeves. Instead of attracting pollinators by tempting them with food, they mimic female insects visually and chemically to deceive males into trying to copulate with the orchid flower and transfer pollen in the process. This interaction is highly specialised and the chemical cues involved are varied. However, other pollination syndromes occur in these orchid, including self-pollination and food deception. My group is developing genomic resources for several genera, including Chiloglottis, and studying the genomic consequences of pollinator-driven speciation. The University of New England is an excellent place to study the ecological genetics and chemical ecology of orchids, as the Tablelands and neighbouring escarpment have a high diversity of terrestrial orchids.

Evolution and ongoing introgression in naturalised sunflowers

Helianthus annuus is an important crop worldwide, but also has a substantial impact as an agricultural weed. Typically, the weedy form has evolved from the wild, undomesticated form of the species, which is native to North America. However, we have found evidence of gene flow (introgression) from the domesticated form, especially in introduced populations on other continents, such as Australia, where it may promote adaptation to new environments. Naturalised populations near Armidale display traits that suggest introgression of genes from domesticated lines has occurred. This raises several questions, including the following.

  • What is the history of the weedy populations: where did they come from and when?
  • Is gene flow from domesticated lines ongoing or historical?
  • What is the adaptive significance of gene flow from domesticated lines? That is, does it increase or decrease the fitness of the weedy populations?

Potential student projects

  • Genomics of adaptation in naturalised Helianthus sunflowers
  • Speciation and genetics of Chiloglottis cornuta, the lone selfer among deceivers
  • Hybrid swarms or narrow contact zones: characterising hybrids between Eucalyptusspecies

Visit Dr Andrew's personal research page

Plant Evolution and Pollination Group