Professor Michelle Waycott

Professor Michelle Waycott
 Position HBS Womersley Chair in Systematic Botany
 Org Unit Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
 Telephone +61 8 8222 9416
 Location Floor/Room 1 ,  Benham ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Current role

    HBS Womersley Professor of Plant Systematics, School of Biological Sciences, and Chief Botanist, State Herbarium of South Australia (Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources)


    In my role as Head of the State Herbarium of South Australia as Chief Botanist I have a responsability to support and enhance our understanding of the flora of South Australia with a particular emphasis on systematics and taxonomy. In addition to my own research, which has a focus on the systematics of seagrasses, I encourage research activities on the flora the student research projects, supporting Herbarium staff to conduct research in their areas of interest and by facilitating access to the herbarium for other reserachers to use.

    I act as a strategic advisor within the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources on a wide range of natural resource management issues. I currently have research activities underway that aim to inform management of threatened species, restoration and to identify knowledge gaps for seagrasses and seagrass ecosystems in South Australia.

    I contribute to teaching in the School of Biological Sciences in the Evolutionary Biology and Marine Biology programs and take on honours, masters and PhD students as a supervisor.

    I currently have research partnerships with funding with James Cook Univeristy, The University of Virginia, Edith Cowan University and The University of Western Australia. I have an extensive network of collaborators across the world.

    My research group undertakes to utilise modern new and 'in-development' molecular and analytical techniques to investigate our research questions. We have a strong collaborative focus and try to get the best outcomes both cost effectively and in a learning environment.

  • Research Interests

    Systematics and evolution of plants

    • Biology, systematics and evolution of seagrasses
    • Evolutionary adaptations of plants to extreme environments
    • The importance of clonality as an evolutionary survival strategy
    • The application of molecular techniques to understanding evolutionary and ecological questions
    • Speciation at the nexus between reproductive strategies, populations and biogeography 
    • The implications of co-evolution to plant diversification


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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 29 Mar 2022

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