Keogh Group - Evolutionary biology & ecology of reptiles and amphibians

Tree frog

My primary research interest is the study and evaluation of evolutionary processes and we work mostly on reptile and frog systems because they are the animals I know the most about. My research interests and those of the group are quite broad. We 'concentrate' on four main research areas which are described below. Of course there is overlap between these research themes, particularly in some of the molecular methods used to tackle questions. Check out our group publications to get a better feel for what my group does.

Lab achievements

  • Dr Conrad Hoskin won a Eureka Prize (2009) for Early Career Species Discovery
  • Dr Megan Higgie won the R.A. Fisher Prize (2009) from the Society for the Study of Evolution
  • Possibly the greatest achievement of our lab - our work on sexual deception in African flat lizards was featured on the 'Colbert Report' in segment called 'When animals attack our morals.'



Scott Keogh

Scott Keogh
Scott Keogh completed his BS at the University of Illinois (1991) and MS at Illinois State University (1993) before moving to...

Divisional Visitor

Honorary Associate Professor

Honorary Professor

PhD Student

Postdoctoral Fellow

Visiting Fellow


Open to students


Selected publications (Click here for a full and up to date list of publications from my lab)

Phylogenetic approaches to conservation genetics and evolutionary biology

  • Vidal-Garcia, M., PG Byrne, JD Roberts, JS Keogh. 2014. The role of phylogeny and ecology in shaping morphology in 21 genera and 127 species of Australo-Papuan myobatrachid frogs.  Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27:181-192.
  • Openshaw,GH, JS  Keogh. 2014. Head shape evolution in monitor lizards (Varanus): Interactions between extreme body size disparity, phylogeny and ecology.  Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27:363-373.
  • Pepper, M, P Doughty, JS Keogh. 2013.  Geodiversity and endemism in the iconic Australian Pilbara region: A review of landscape evolution and biotic response in an ancient refugium. Journal of Biogeography 40:1225-1239. 
  • Lukoschek, V, JS Keogh, JC Avise. 2012. Evaluating fossil calibrations for dating phylogenies in light of rates of molecular evolution: a comparison of three approaches. Systematic Biology 61:22-43. 
  • Pepper, M, P Doughty MN Hutchinson, JS Keogh. 2011. Ancient drainages divide cryptic species in Australia’s arid zone: Morphological and multi-gene evidence for four new species of Beaked geckos (Rhynchoedura). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61:810-822. 
  • Pepper, M, YWS Ho, MK Fujita, JS Keogh. 2011. The genetic legacy of aridification: Climate cycling fostered lizard diversification in Australian montane refugia and left low-lying deserts genetically depauperate. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61:750-759. 
  • Pepper, M, MK Fujita, C Moritz, JS Keogh. 2011. Palaeoclimate change drove diversification among isolated mountain refugia in the Australian arid zone. Molecular Ecology 20:1529-1545. 
  • Keogh, JS, DL Edwards, RN Fisher, PS Harlow. 2008. Molecular and morphological analysis of the critically endangered Fijian iguanas reveals cryptic diversity and a complex biogeographic history. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. 363:3413-3426. 
  • Morgan, MJ, D Hunter, W Osborne, R Pietch, JS Keogh. 2008. Assessment of genetic diversity in the critically endangered Australian corroboree frogs, Pseudophryne corroboree and P. pengilleyi, identifies four evolutionarily significant units for conservation. Molecular Ecology 17:3448-3463. 
  • Lukoschek, V, M Waycott, JS Keogh. 2008. Relative information content of polymorphic microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA for inferring dispersal and population genetic structure in the olive sea snake, Aipysurus laevis. Molecular Ecology 17:3062-3077. 
  • Sanders KL, MSY Lee, R Leijs, R Foster , JS Keogh. 2008. Molecular phylogeny and divergence dates for Australasian elapids and sea snakes (Hydrophiinae): Evidence from seven genes for rapid evolutionary radiations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21:882-895. Winner of the 2008 Slowinski Award for the best paper published worldwide in snake systematics. 
  • Morgan, MJ, JD Roberts, JS Keogh. 2007. Molecular phylogenetic dating supports an ancient endemic speciation model in Australia’s biodiversity hotspot. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44:371-385. 
  • Keogh, JS, IAW Scott, C Hayes. 2005. Rapid and repeated origin of insular gigantism and dwarfism in Australian tiger snakes. Evolution 59:226-233.

Evolutionary ecology

  • Noble, DWA, SE McFarlane, JS Keogh, MJ Whiting. 2014. Maternal and additive genetic effects contribute to variation in offspring traits in a lizard. Behavioral Ecology 25:633-640.
  • Noble, DWA, K Wechmann, JS Keogh, MJ Whiting. 2013. Behavioral and morphological traits interact to promote the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics in a lizard.  The American Naturalist 182:726-742. 
  • Keogh, JS, KDL Umbers, EE Wilson, J Stapley, MJ Whiting. 2013. Influence of alternate reproductdive tactics and pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection on paternity and offspring performance in a lizard.  Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 67:629-638.
  • Whiting, MJ, JK Webb, JS Keogh. 2009. Flat lizard female mimics use sexual deception in visual but not chemical signals. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B. 276:1585-1591. 
  • Doody, JS, S Freedberg, JS Keogh. 2009. Communal egg-laying in reptiles and amphibians: Evolutionary patterns and hypotheses. Quarterly Review of Biology 84:229-252. 
  • Byrne, P, JS Keogh. 2007. Terrestrial toadlets use chemosignals to recognise conspecifics, locate mates and strategically adjust calling behaviour. Animal Behaviour 74:1155-1162. 
  • Byrne, PG, JS Keogh. 2009. Extreme sequential polyandry insures against nest failure in a frog. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B. 276:115-120.

News & events


Researchers have discovered an ancient species of gecko in the ranges of Central Australia which may shine new light on how and when Australia’s deserts began to form millions of years ago.
Daniela Perez, Damien Esquerre, Dominique Potvin, and four other scientists had their research featured in the 'Science Meets Street Art 2016' event.
A new study into pythons and boas has for the first time found the two groups of snakes evolved independently to share similar traits.
Orange frill-necked lizard (credit Borbala Cser)
Researchers at ANU have found frill-necked lizards have different coloured frills, depending on where they live and what they eat.



Early Career Researcher profile - Dr Mitzy Pepper

Early Career Researcher profile: Dr Mitzy Pepper

In this video Mitzy speaks about her life as an early career researcher with the Research School of Biology, and the support she receives from her supervisor and her colleagues.
Snake crown

Nature as a work of art

It could be a scene straight from ancient Egypt, where the heads of pharaohs were adorned with snake crowns. But the latest creation of Dr Steven Holland, MAVisualArts '95 has a more modern use.

Scott Keogh

 Group research focus
Slithering between science and art

Slithering between science and art

A fellowship program at ANU has brought researchers together from diverse fields to collaborate and learn from each other.

Updated:  19 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB