What's on: AMRI Seminar Series

The Australian Museum Research Institute hosts a monthly series of short talks showcasing current research at the Australian Museum.

AMRI Seminar Series #2

Photographer: © Australian Museum

Event Type:
Special event
01.00 PM to 02.00 PM

The seminar consists of two 30-minute snapshots of new results or ongoing projects designed to keep our staff informed, but are also open to members of the public with an interest in scientific research.

15 April


Using molecular clocks to resolve the timescale of the Tree of Life

Assoc. Prof. Simon Ho, University of Sydney
2014 Eureka Prize winner

Fossils have allowed us to work out when animals first evolved, when plants colonised land, and when we shared ancestors with our primate cousins. But what if we are interested in the history of organisms that are not preserved in the fossil record? We can estimate these evolutionary timescales by analysing genomes using molecular clocks, which are statistical models of the evolutionary process. Molecular clocks can be applied to a broad range of biological questions, ranging from the recent emergence of viruses to the deepest origins of modern animals and plants. I will describe the latest developments in molecular clocks, with reference to recent studies of birds and pathogens.

An Expedition to Mt Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea

Dr Dan Bickel, AMRI
'Expedition Papua New Guinea 2012- 2013' comprised a survey of plant and terrestrial arthropods on a transect of Mt Wilhelm (el. 4509 m). I was involved with sorting Diptera (flies) from catches of a trapping program. Sorting took place at Wanang 3, a remote field station in Madang Province, some six to seven-hours-walk from the nearest roadhead. Diptera usually comprises the most abundant order in Malaise samples, and the large volume of material necessitated a “triage,” and only those families that were abundant, readily extracted from the residue soup, and had active and willing workers were targeted. Species richness and change with elevation, biogeography and other aspects of the Mt Wilhelm fauna are reviewed. Also noted are the practical aspects of Malaise sampling especially trap placement and intra-site variation, supplemented by the video Green Tree Ants at the Malaise Trap Café.

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