Dr Lyn Cook

Associate Professor

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
l.cook@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 52070

Overview

I obtained my PhD from The Australian National University in 2001 and have been at UQ since August 2006

My research is primarily aimed at understanding the origins, diversification and distributions of organisms, especially plants and insects in Australia. I mostly take a comparative approach and use molecular phylogenies to test hypotheses about ecological and evolutionary processes. Recent and ongoing topics include: understanding how interactions among plants and insects affect the evolutionary radiation of each; teasing apart the effects of extinction and speciation to understand how past climate and environmental change has shaped our biota; and investigating the relative roles of continental drift and long distance dispersal in explaining the current distribution patterns of organisms in the southern hemisphere. Specific questions relate, but are not limited, to topics such as:

• how the diversification of the unique Australian flora has driven insect speciation

• whether specific insect-plant interactions are the result of long term co-radiation or more recent adaptive radiations of insects

• the relative roles of vicariance (such as that induced by continental drift) and dispersal in explaining the current distribution patterns of southern hemisphere organisms

• evolutionary patterns of host-use by herbivores

• how past climate change has shaped the current distributions of taxa

• assembly of the flora and fauna of current biomes, especially the arid zone, monsoon tropics and southern temperate biomes

• phylogeography of plants and insects, and what this reveals about contemporary and recent gene flow

• consequences of differential dispersal, such as that between male and female scale insects, different developmental stages, or seed and pollen

Research Interests

  • Evolution of biodiversity
  • Evolution of the scale insects

Qualifications

  • PhD, Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Science, Australian National University

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • Australia has a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot, the southwest of Western Australia, but this unique flora is highly threatened. We are contrasting this hotspot with the climatically and latitudinally comparable southeastern Australia to determine the processes responsible for species generation and biodiversity maintenance. Study groups include the iconic eucalypts, Melaleuca, legumes and other plants, as well as gall-inducing scale insects that are associated with the plants, and other animals. We are particularly interested in a student who is keen to take on the evolution and biodiversity of the eucalypts.

    This project is funded by the Australian Research Council.

  • We have recently discovered a large radiation of scale insects that induce galls on species of Melaleuceae. This project involves the taxonomy and systematics of the group, and examines the evolutionary relationships bewteen the insects and their hosts. There is scope for describing and naming 30 or more species.

    This project is funded by the Australian Biodiversity Resources Study.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Australia has a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot, the southwest of Western Australia, but this unique flora is highly threatened. We are contrasting this hotspot with the climatically and latitudinally comparable southeastern Australia to determine the processes responsible for species generation and biodiversity maintenance. Study groups include the iconic eucalypts, Melaleuca, legumes and other plants, as well as gall-inducing scale insects that are associated with the plants, and other animals. We are particularly interested in a student who is keen to take on the evolution and biodiversity of the eucalypts.

    This project is funded by the Australian Research Council.

  • We have recently discovered a large radiation of scale insects that induce galls on species of Melaleuceae. This project involves the taxonomy and systematics of the group, and examines the evolutionary relationships bewteen the insects and their hosts. There is scope for describing and naming 30 or more species.

    This project is funded by the Australian Biodiversity Resources Study.