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Dr Michael Lee

Position Associate Professor
Email michael.s.lee@adelaide.edu.au
Fax +61 8 8207 7568
Building South Australian Museum
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

To link to this page, please use the following URL:
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/michael.s.lee

Biography/ Background


POSTDOC AND PH.D POSITIONS AVAILABLE

IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY AND HERPETOLOGY

[scroll to bottom]


 

Qualifications

B.Sc (Marine Biology), Hons (Anatomy/Histology), University of Queensland, 1990.  Supervisor: BGM Jamieson

Ph.D (Zoology), University of Cambridge, 1994.  Supervisor: JA Clack.

 

Teaching Interests

Teaching (3rd year)

  • Applied Evolution
  • Extinction in the past and present
  • Biodiversity and systematics
  • Phylogenetic analysis - computer applications

Research Interests

EVOLUTION, PALAEONTOLOGY AND MOLECULAR PHYLOGENY (MOSTLY OF REPTILES)

Our research group uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand major evolutionary transitions - this includes molecular phylogenetics, anatomy, and the fossil record. Current research areas include: molecular systematics and dating, reptile phylogeny (especially skinks, geckos, and fossils), limb reduction in tetrapods, snake origins and diversification, and the Cambrian explosion.

Our group interacts with the Molecular Biology labs (Evolutionary Biology Unit), the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), and the Earth Sciences Section of the SA museum. Most students and postdocs are also affiliated with one of these groups and benefit from the multidisciplinary perspective.

AFFILIATED RESEARCHERS

  • Dr. Adam Skinner (postdoc: evolution and phylogeny of Australian scincid lizards, especially Lerista)
  • Dr. Kate Sanders (postdoc - APD: Elapid snake evolution, especially sea snakes)
  • Dr. Trevor Worthy (postdoc: Fossil birds).  Jointly affiliated with ACAD.

POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

  • Matthew Taylor (Ph.D: Python evolution.  Co-supervisors Mark Hutchinson and Brett Goodman)
  • Kanishka Ukuwela (Ph.D: sea snake phylogeny.  Co-supervisor Kate Sanders)
  • Amy White (Hons: Miniature microhylid frogs from PNG.  Co-supervisor Paul Oliver)

RECENT LAB MEMBERS

  • Dr. Ben Kear (postdoc: Australian Mesozoic marine reptiles). Ben is on the faculty at Uppsala University.
  • Dr. John Scanlon (postdoc: Snake Evolution). John is now at the Riversleigh Fossil Centre, with an honorary appointment at the University of NSW
  • Dr. Paul Oliver (PhD: Australian gecko biodiversity).  Paul is a postdoc at the University of Melbourne.
  • Dr. Andrew Hugall (PhD: Australian snail biodiversity. Yes he submitted!). Andrew is a postdoc at Museum Victoria.
  • Dr. Aaron Camens  (PhD: Diprotodontid evolution and functional morphology). Aaron is a postdoc at Flinders University.
  • Dr. Adam Skinner (PhD: skink evolution). Adam is now a postdoc in our research group.
  • Dr. Trevor Worthy (PhD: The Australian Tertiary Avifauna).  Trevor was formerly at UNSW and has returned as a postdoc in our research group and ACAD.

Research Funding

Major current projects are listed below.  Sincere thanks to all our funding sources listed.

  • Sea snake evolution: why are some taxa and regions species-rich? (with Kate Sanders APD).  Australian Research Council "Discovery Grant", 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
  • The developmental genetics of major evolutionary transitions: limb reduction in lizards (with Adam Skinner).  Australian Research Council "Discovery Grant", 2012, 2013, 2014.
  •  Islands of rocks: geckos as a model system to understand patterns of biodiversity, endemism and speciation in the Kimberley (with Paul Oliver).  Australian Research Council "Linkage Grant", 2012, 2013, 2014.
  • Beyond barcoding: understanding biodiversity in diverse frontier for tropical biology - New Guinea. (with Paul Oliver).  APSF: Austalia and Pacific Science Foundation 2011, 2012, 2013.
  • Our research is also supported by SEALINK, the SA Museum, the WA Museum, and PIRSA.

Publications

The sample of publications below provides an overview of major research interests, with a bias towards more recent papers (full list can be downloaded below as a word file). Students and postdocs usually publish many papers independently and their papers are not listed here.

 

ALL RECENT PUBLICATIONS CAN BE VIEWED ON-LINE HERE (please try this link before asking for reprints):

http://adelaide.academia.edu/MichaelLee/Papers

(You can also download pdfs if you register - this only requires an email and institutional affiliation)

 

MACROEVOLUTION, PALAEONTOLOGY, MORPHOLOGY

  • Lee, M. S. Y. 1992. Cambrian and recent morphological disparity. Science 258: 1816-1817.
  • Lee, M. S. Y. 1993. The origin of the turtle body plan: bridging a famous morphological gap. Science 261: 1716-1720.
  • Lee, M.S.Y. 1996. Correlated progression and the origin of turtles. Nature 379: 812-815.
  • Caldwell, M.W. and Lee, M.S.Y. 1997. A snake with legs from the marine Cretaceous of the Middle East. Nature 386: 705-709.
  • Lee, M.S.Y. 1998. Convergent evolution and character correlation in burrowing reptiles: towards a resolution of squamate phylogeny. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 65: 369-453.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Bell, G.L. Jr, and Caldwell, M.W. 1999. The origin of snake feeding. Nature 400: 655-659.
  • Scanlon, J. D. and Lee, M.S.Y. 2000. The Pleistocene serpent Wonambi and the early evolution of snakes. Nature 403: 416-420.
  • Lee, M. S. Y., Doughty, P. 2003. The geometric meaning of macroevolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18: 263-266
  • Caprette C.C., Lee M.S.Y., Shine R., Mokaney A., Downhower J.F. 2004. The origin of snakes as seen through eye anatomy. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (London) 81: 469-482.
  • Kear, B., Schroeder, N., Lee, M.S.Y. 2006. An archaic crested plesiosaur in opal from the Lower Cretaceous high latitude deposits of Australia. Biology Letters 2:615-619.
  • Skinner, A., Lee M. S. Y., Hutchinson, M. 2008. Rapid and repeated limb loss in Lizards (Lerista, Scincidae, Squamata). BMC Evolutionary Biology 8: 310 (1-11).
  • Lee, M.S.Y. 2009.  Hidden support from unpromising datasets strongly unites snakes and anguimorph lizards.  Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 1308-1316.
  • Lee, M.S.Y. Hutchinson, M., Worthy, T.H., Archer, M., Tennyson, A.J.D., Worthy, J.P. Schofield, R. P.. 2009.  Miocene skinks and geckos reveal long term conservatism of the New Zealand lizard fauna.  Biology Letters  (advance online doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0440)
  • Skinner, A., Lee M. S. Y.  2009.  Body-form evolution in the scincid lizard Lerista and the mode of macroevolutionary transitions.  Evolutionary Biology 36: 292-300.
  • Lee M.S.Y., Jago, J.B., Garcia-Bellido, D.C., Edgecombe, G.E., Gehling, J.G, Paterson, J.R.  2011.  Modern optics in exceptionally preserved eyes of Early Cambrian arthropods from Australia. Nature 474: 631-634.
  • Lee M.S.Y., Worthy, T.  2011.  Likelihood reinstates Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird.  Biology Letters (Advance Online: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0884)

  • Paterson, J.R., Garcia-Bellido, D.C., Lee M.S.Y., Brock G.A., Jago J.B.,  Edgecombe, G.E.,  2011. Acute vision in the giant Cambrian predator Anomalocaris and the origin of compound eyes. Nature 480: 237-240  [COVER STORY].

MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION

  • Lee, M.S.Y. 1999. Molecular clock calibrations and metazoan divergence dates. Journal of Molecular Evolution 49: 385-391.
  • Hugall, A. E., Lee, M.S.Y. 2004. Molecular claims of Gondwanan age of Australian agamids are untenable. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21: 2102-2110.
  • Lee, M.S.Y. and Anderson, J. A. 2006. Molecular clocks and the origin of living amphibians. 40: 635-639.
  • Hugall, A. F, Foster, R., Lee, M.S.Y. 2007. Calibration Choice, Rate Smoothing, and the Pattern of Tetrapod Diversification According to the Long Nuclear Gene RAG-1. Systematic Biology 56: 543-563.
  • Hugall, A. and Lee, M.S.Y. 2007. The likelihood node density effect and consequences for evolutionary studies of molecular rates. Evolution 61: 2293-2307.
  • Sanders, K.L., Lee M. S. Y. 2007. Evaluating molecular clock calibrations using Bayesian analyses with soft and hard bounds. Biology Letters 3: 275-279.
  • Sanders, K.L., Lee M.S.Y., Leijs, R., Foster, R., Keogh, J.S. 2008. Molecular phylogeny and divergence dates for Australasian elapids and sea snakes (Hydrophiinae): Evidence from seven genes for rapid evolutionary radiations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 682-695
  • Oliver, P.M., Adams, M., Lee, M.S.Y., Hutchinson, M.N. and Doughty, P.D.  2009.  Cryptic diversity in vertebrates: molecular data double species diversity in a radiation of Australian lizards.  Proceedings: Biological Sciences 276: 2001-2007
  • Phillips, M.J., Bennett T., and Lee, M.S.Y.  2009.  Molecules and morphology indicate a recent aquatic ancestry for echidnas.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106: 17089-17094.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Skinner, A.  2011.  Testing fossil calibrations for vertebrate evolutionary trees.  Zoologica Scripta 40: 538-543.

SYSTEMATICS - THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY

  • Lee, M. S. Y. 2003. Species concepts and species reality: Salvaging a Linnaean rank. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 16: 179-188.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Hugall, A.F. 2003. Partitioned likelihood support and the evaluation of data set conflict. Systematic Biology 52: 11-22.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Wolsan, M. 2003. Cohesion, individuality, and the nature of species. Biology and Philosophy 17: 651-660.
  • Lee, M.S.Y. 2006. Morphological phylogenetics and the universe of possible characters. Taxon 55: 5-7
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Skinner, A.  2008.  Hierarchy and clade definitions in phylogenetic taxonomy. Organisms, Diversity and Evolution 8: 17-20.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Oliver, P. Hutchinson, M.N.  2008.  Phylogenetic uncertainty and molecular clock calibrations in legless lizards (Pygopodidae, Gekkota).  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50: 661-666.


POSTDOC POSITIONS AVAILABLE

Australian Citizens: We would welcome ARC postdoctoral fellowship applicants in any of our research areas. The University is always very supportive of ARC postdocs and are usually willing to fund the 4-year option. For promising applicants, we will subsidise travel to Adelaide so you can see our research and facilities, and discuss your proposal.

Overseas: If your research is in the above areas and you have a strong research record (e.g. several publications in international journals), we would be happy to help you prepare a strong application for funding from your home country, or from Australian exchange programs (e.g. Fulbright USA, Association of Commonwealth Universities). 

PH.D POSITIONS & $5000 TOP-UPS AVAILABLE

Some of my Ph.D students will (hopefully) be finishing soon, so we have openings for new students. All Ph.D students are encouraged to pursue their own research and to publish independently, and outstanding applicants are eligible for a $5000 top-up to their scholarship.


If you are interested in postgraduate studies in any of our areas, please do the following two steps in this order. (1). For information on the Ph.D program and scholarships, contact the Scholarships Office first. It has been our experience that students without scholarships often struggle to manage their time. (2) If you are seriously considering applying to Adelaide, and have been told by the graduate centre that you have a good chance at a Ph.D scholarship, think about possible projects and co-supervisors (e.g. Mark Hutchinson, Steve Donnellan, Alan Cooper, Jeremy Austin, Kate Sanders, Adam Skinner). Then please contact me to discuss further.


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Entry last updated: Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014

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