Rod Peakall

Rod Peakall
Rm W216, Level 2, RN Robertson Building (46)
 +61 2 6125 0022 (Office)



Rod Peakall completed his BSc (Hons) in 1984 and PhD in 1987, both at the University of Western Australia (UWA), before taking up an ARC funded 5-year postdoctoral position at Macquarie University in Sydney in 1988. He subsequently joined The Australian National University (ANU) in 1993. He has also held visiting fellowships at Rutgers University, USA (1992) and at ETH (2003), Zurich, Switzerland. His research interests span the fields of plant reproduction and evolution, molecular ecology, conservation biology, botanical forensics and the statistics of population genetic analysis. He is the first author of the widely used population genetics software package, GenAlEx: Genetic Analysis in Excel (Peakall and Smouse 2006).


Research awards

Research interests

  • Research in the Peakall Lab is focused on the development and application of DNA based genetic markers for investigating a range of pure and applied questions in evolutionary and conservation biology.
  • The integration of ecological, population genetic and molecular tools allows novel insights that are not possible on their own.
  • Our study organisms include plants, mammals, birds, insects and fungi.
  • Studies of orchids feature strongly, but by no means exclusively, in greater part because their novel pollination systems are ideal for exploring a range of evolutionary questions.
  • This research provides exciting opportunities for collaborative multidisciplinary research spanning reproductive ecology, genetics, phylogeny, biochemistry and chemical ecology.

Recent grants

  • ARC Linkage - Peakall R, Dixon KW, Linde, C (2011-2013) Above and below-ground specialization in Australian orchids and its implications for diversification and vulnerability
  • ARC Discovery - Peakall R, Barrow RA, Pichersky E (2010-2012) The chemical, biochemical, genetic and ecological basis of pollinator-driven speciation in Australian sexually deceptive orchids
  • ARC Linkage - Peakall R, Dixon KW, Linde C, Krauss SL, Barrow RA, Ghisalberti EL, Hutchinson MF (2009-2012) A multidisciplinary research program to assess limiting factors and predict impacts of climate change for endangered Australian orchids
  • ARC Discovery - Peakall R (2004-2008) Sympatric speciation in Australian sexually deceptive orchids

Media coverage

  • Orchids and chemical trickery. Chemistry Australia (October 2010)
  • Pretty cheats and liars lure researchers. UWA News (Nov 2009)
  • Flowers that tell lies. ANU ScienceWise, (Sep/Oct 2008)
  • For orchids, life is meant to be sleazy. Canberra Times (Nov 17, 2008)
  • The flower of seduction. Nature 445, 8-16-8-17  (Feb 22, 2007)


Rod coordinates and lectures in BIOL2151 Principals of Genetics.
He coordinated and lectured in the Masters of Molecular Genetic Analysis program, and coordinated BIOL3153 Conservation Biology.


Selected publications

All publications

Updated:  16 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB