Our goal is to train the next generation of biologists to understand the history and diversity of life on Earth. We focus on an integrative collection-based research, using a variety of tools from palaeontology to genomics. Te Papa’s collections contain a vast record of life in New Zealand and the Pacific and can be the starting point to study a wealth of topics, from ecology to anthropogenic change.
Our current project descriptions can serve as a rough guideline to the research we do and point you to a researcher whose study area matches your interests – candidates are encouraged to inquire about other possibilities as well.
Examples of past and ongoing PhD projects:
- Towards ecologically-based early warning system for arboviral disease transmission in New Zealand: Sherif Ammar (University of Otago, co-supervisor S. Hales). To generate urban mosquito data, which will be viewed in conjunction with climatic, environmental, and public health information to model potential scenarios for the spread of local arbovirus disease under present and projected climatic conditions. This will provide a basis to develop an early warning system for use by public health agencies.
- Phylogenomics of New Zealand polyploid Azorella: Weixuan Ning (Massey University, co-supervisor J. Tate). To better understand whether whole genome duplication (polyploidy) in the New Zealand species of Azorella is related to morphological and ecological characteristics, and to uncover the origins and diversification of Azorella species in New Zealand.
Example of a past master’s project:
● Continental gastropods diversity in southern Bahia, Brazil: Fernanda S. Silva (University of São Paulo, co-supervisor L. Simone). The snail fauna of poorly-known regions in southern Bahia was surveyed. The region is a transition point among three of the great biomes of Brazil and due to that fact, it is a potential hotspot of biodiversity.