Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Description

The Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution is part of the New Zealand Government's Centres of Research Excellence initiative, and focuses on research in molecular biology, ecology and evolution, bringing together internationally recognised researchers.

Expertise

The Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution is part of the New Zealand Government's Centres of Research Excellence initiative, and focuses on research in molecular biology, ecology and evolution, bringing together internationally recognised researchers. Victoria University of Wellington is one of five universities participating in the Allan Wilson Centre, and hosts a research group focused on biodiversity. Our researchers are international leaders in evolutionary biology. They make cutting–edge technologies in Genomics and Biomathematics available to New Zealand and develop analytic and predictive models for ecology and evolution.

Objective

The Allan Wilson centre is the only Centre of Research Excellence focused on the natural environment. They aim to undertake research that provides new knowledge and insights into environmental challenges, especially global climate change, human health, and threats to biodiversity.

Research Focus

We use ecological and molecular techniques to investigate New Zealand’s biodiversity, particularly of reptiles. This research contributes to the overall goal of the Allan Wilson Centre to produce an unprecedented level of understanding of New Zealand’s biota.

Unique Capability Proposition

The researchers at the Allan Wilson Centre are international leaders in evolutionary biology. They make cutting-edge technologies in Genomics and Biomathematics available to New Zealand and develop analytic and predictive models for ecology and evolution.

Past Successes

Hidden Treasure – A New Zealand Genomic Observatory

Coordinator: Dr Nicola Nelson, Victoria University of Wellington

Imagine being able to determine the species that live within a particular area just from analysing small amounts of soil. This initiative aims to develop new molecular and bioinformatics techniques that will allow researchers to do exactly that. Currently, determining what species are present at a site, and how they are distributed, requires highly specialised taxonomic and ecological expertise, making monitoring of particular sites over time unsustainable. The methods developed in this initiative will streamline ecological monitoring and facilitate the easy identification of species at a site. The technique development is targeted locally at land management authorities including the Department of Conservation (DOC), Auckland Council (AC), and iwi (Ngati Manuhiri), and internationally as part of the Network of Genomic Observatories.