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The Australian National University

Rowell Lab - Population genetics, karyology and phylogeography of terrestrial invertebrates

Teaching | Research | Research opportunities | Lab members | Publications

Associate Professor David Rowell

Building 116,
Research School of Biology,
The Australian National University,
Acton, ACT 0200
T: 61252881


David Rowell did his BSc at the ANU in the area of Botany and Zoology, followed by Honours in 1980, in the (then) new field of molecular systematics, examining the relationships amongst the Australian funnelweb spiders. Following a period as a statistical analyst and computer programmer, he completed a PhD at the ANU’s Research School of Biological Sciences in population genetics and the evolution of social behaviour in spiders. In 1988 he was appointed as a lecturer in Genetics at the ANU Department of Botany, subsequently the School of Botany and Zoology. He is currently Head of Biology Teaching and Learning at RSB. His research focuses on population genetics, phylogeography and chromosomal evolution in terrestrial invertebrates.



• BIOL1003: Evolution, Ecology and Genetics
• BIOL1009: Diversity of Life
• BIOL2113: Invertebrate Zoology
• BIOL2202: Experimental Design and Analysis in Biology
• BIOL2154: Evolution of Biodiversity

Teaching Awards

• ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2004

Research interests

• Chromosomal evolution in terrestrial invertebrates
• Social behaviour in terrestrial invertebrates
• Phylogeography of SE Australian animals and plants

Student research opportunities

Chromosomal evolution in the Social huntsman spider Delena cancerides.

Understanding chromosomal evolution and its role in the speciation process        Show more detail...

Evolution of the Australian Onychophora

Morphological, chromosomal and behavioural diversification in the Australian velvet worms ("Peripatus).        Show more detail...

Lab members

  • Brian Garms (PhD student)
  • Michaela Purcell (PhD student)
  • Linda Rayor (Visiting Fellow)
  • David Rowell (Lab Leader)
  • Mark Wong (Honours Student)
  • David Yeates (Adjunct Professor)

» Go to lab directory


Selected publications

ROCKMAN M.V., ROWELL D.M. & TAIT N.N. 2001 Phylogenetics of Planipapillus, lawn-headed onychophorans of the Australian Alps, based on nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences. Mol. Phylo. Evol. 21: 103 - 106
ROCKMAN M.V. & ROWELL D.M. 2002 Episodic chromosomal evolution in Planipapillus: a phylogenetic approach to evolutionary dynamics and speciation. Evolution 56: 58 - 69
ROWELL D.M, ROCKMAN M.V. & TAIT N.N. 2002 Extensive Robertsonian Rearrangement: Implications for the radiation and biogeography of Planipapillus Reid (Onychophora : Peripatopsidae). J. Zool. Lond. 257: 171 - 179
GARRICK R. C. , SANDS C. J., ROWELL D. M., TAIT N. N., GREENSLADE P. & SUNNUCKS P. 2004 Phylogeography recapitulates topography: very fine-scale local endemism of a saproxylic ‘giant’ springtail at Tallaganda in the Great Dividing Range of south-east Australia. Molecular Ecology 13: 3329 – 3344
REINHARD J. & ROWELL D.M. 2005 Social behaviour in an Australian velvet worm, Euperipatoides rowelli (Onychophora : Peripatopsidae). J. Zool. Lond. 267: 1 - 7
BEAVIS A.S. & ROWELL D.M. (2006) Phylogeography of two species of funnelweb spider (Hadronyche sp. 1 and Atrax sp. 1) in Tallaganda State Forest (NSW). In: Insect Biodiversity and Dead Wood: Proceedings of a Symposium for the 22 International Congress of Entomology. General Technical Report (eds Grove SJ, Hanula JL), pp. 23-29. US department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, North Carolina
WOODMAN J.D., ASH J.E. & ROWELL D.M. (2006). Climatic modelling for Tallaganda State Forest, NSW, relative to population structuring among saproxylic invertebrates. J. Zool. Lond. 268: 325-333
GRUETZNER, F., ASHLEY T., ROWELL D. & GRAVES J.M. (2006) How did the platypus get its sex chromosome chain? A comparison of meiotic multiples and sex chromosomes in plants and animals. Chromosoma 115: 75 - 88
STRAUSFELD N.J., STRAUSFELD C.M., LOESEL R., ROWELL D.M. & STOWE S. (2006) Arthropod phylogeny: chelicerate brain organization in an onychophoran. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. Ser b. 273: 1857-1866
SUNNUCKS P., BLACKET M., TAYLOR J.M., SANDS C. J., CIAVAGLIA S.A., TAIT N.N., ROWELL D.M. & PAVLOVA A. (2006) A tale of two flatties: different responses of two terrestrial flatworms to past environmental climatic fluctuations at Tallaganda in montane south-eastern Australia. Molecular Ecology 15: 4513 - 4531
STRAUSFELD N.J., STRAUSFELD C.M., STOWE S., ROWELL D.M. & LOESEL R. (2006) Organisation of neuropils in the brain of the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli and its evolutionary implications. Arthropod Structure and Development 35: 169 – 196
BEAVIS A.S., ROWELL D.M. & EVANS T. (2007) Cannibalism and kin recognition in Delena cancerides, a social huntsman spider. J. Zool. Lond. 271, 233-237.
HODGES K., ROWELL D.M. & KEOGH S. (2007) Comparative phylogeography of sister taxa reveals marked differences in recent evolutionary history. J. Zool. Lond. 272: 64-72
GARRICK R.C., SANDS C.J., ROWELL D.M., HILLIS D.M. & SUNNUCKS P. (2007) Catchments catch all: very fine-scale phylogeography of a ‘giant’ Gondwanan Hexapod from the southeast Australian highlands – a multi-gene approach. Molecular Ecology 16: 1865 - 1882
COOK L. & ROWELL D.M. (2007) Genetic diversity, host-specificity and unusual phylogeography of a cryptic, host-related species-complex of gall-inducing scale insects. Ecological Entomology 32: 506 - 515
SHARP H.E. & ROWELL D.M. (2007) Unprecedented Chromosomal Diversity and Behaviour Modify Linkage Patterns and Speciation Processes: Structural Heterozygosity in an Australian Spider. J. Evol. Biol. 20: 2427 - 2439
WISHART, G. & ROWELL D.M. (2008) Trapdoor Spiders of the Genus Misgolas (Mygalomorphae: Idiopidae) in the Central Coast, Newcastle and Lower Mid-North Coast Regions of New South Wales, Australia, with notes on genetic variation. Records of the Australian Museum 60: 45-86
GARRICK R.C., ROWELL D.M., SIMMONS C.S., HILLIS D.M. & SUNNUCKS P. (2008) Fine-scale phylogeographic congruence despite demographic incongruence in two low-mobility saproxylic springtails. Evolution 62: 1103-1118
MOORE D.J., HALLIDAY D, ROWELL D.M., ROBINSON A., KEOGH J.S. (2009) Positive Darwinian selection results in resistance to cardioactive toxins in true toads (Anura: Bufonidae) Biology Letters 5: 513 - 516

All publications

Click here to see a full list of publications on the ISI website...

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Updated:  21 December 2010/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB /Page Contact:  RSB Webmaster