Dr Maurizio Rossetto
Manager, Evolutionary Ecology (Principal Research Scientist)
Science & Public Programs
My principal research interest is in the evolutionary, ecological and conservation genetics of native plants: why are species distributed and assembled the way they are? Currently I am particularly interested in Australian rainforest habitats because they provide unique opportunities to study long- and short-term evolutionary processes in response to radical environmental change. My research team and I combine genetic and ecological approaches to investigate the factors that affect diversification across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Understanding the relationship between genetic exchange, ecological traits and environmental variables will enable us to better understanding speciation processes, as well as develop improved analytical models for predicting the consequences of environmental change and supporting management strategies.
My research is based on numerous and diverse taxa, techniques and study systems. I am generally interested in the development and application of new molecular approaches that support innovative evolutionary and conservation research on the Australian flora. Currently we are investigating the application of genomic approaches (using Next Generation Sequencing) to a range of evolutionary, conservation and landscape-level questions.
molecular and evolutionary ecology, conservation genetics, biogeography, population dynamics, adaptive differentiation, community and functional ecology, next generation sequencing
Current research projects
Main research focus
- Unravelling the evolutionary and environmental processes leading to rarity or endemism by investigating the association between genetic fitness and ecological traits. From an evolutionary view-point, this research explores the reasons between the differential success of lineages, and is also directly relevant to the development of appropriate management strategies for populations, species and ecological communities.
- Adaptive responses to environmental variability - tracking associations between genetic, morphological, environmental and climatic gradients (at population, species and assemblage levels). My research interests are increasingly focused on gathering relevant knowledge on the response of species and ecological communities to environmental and climatic change. Managing biodiversity under a changing climate requires a risk assessment for species, in terms of their susceptibility to likely changes in climate and the associated effects on existing threats.
- Evolution and biogeography of the Australian flora - including a range of collaborative projects on Cunoniaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Lauraceae, Proteaceae, Podocarpaceae, Vitaceae and other important Australian families.
- Dispersal and distributions: using molecular tools to investigate large-scale distributional patterns.
- Functional biogeography of Australian rainforests: combining phylogenetic, distributional and functional data to investigate the evolution of rainforest floras in the Southern hemisphere.
Postdoctoral collaborators in my lab
- Dr Marlien van der Merwe, ‘Trascriptomic variation in native plants distributed across an environmental gradient (the ‘Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect’)’.
- Dr Hannah McPherson, ‘Biodiversity and landscape dynamics across an environmental gradient (the ‘Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect’)’.
- Dr Dylan Burge, ‘Evolution of nickel hyper-accumulation in the genus Stackhousia’.
- Dr Robert Kooyman, ‘Factors influencing continental rainforest contractions and community assembly through time’.
Postgraduate students under co-supervision
- Melita Baum, PhD (with Assoc. Prof. M. Crisp, Australian National University). ‘Phylogeography of Lomatia and Telopea (Proteaceae)’.
- Frances Elliot, PhD (with Prof. R. Henry, Southern Cross University). 'Extent of clonality and taxonomic relationships in Davidsonia (Cunoniaceae)'.
- Margaret Heslewood, PhD (with Prof. A. Lowe, University of Adelaide). ‘Genetic structure and differentiation across Ceratopetalum (Cunoniaceae)’.
- Rohan Mellick, PhD, (with Prof. A. Lowe, University of Adelaide). ‘Combining fossil and genetic data to investigate coalescent processes in Podocarpus (Podocarpaceae)’.
- Michael Whitehead, PhD (with Prof. R. Peakall, Australian National University). ‘Population genetics and speciation in Chiloglottis (Orchidaceae)’.
Some examples for future postgraduate projects
- Biogeography and evolution of Australian rainforest trees
- Understanding the association between environmental and genetic variation - a window into the adaptive potential of populations and species
- A genomic approach to biodiversity quantification
- The impact of hybridisation on adaptive evolution
- The impact of temporal changes in dispersal patterns on species distribution
- Kooyman R, Rossetto M, Allen C, Cornwell W (in press) Australian tropical and sub-tropical rain forest community assembly: phylogeny, functional biogeography, and environmental gradients. Biotropica
- Rossetto M, Rymer PD (in press) Applications of molecular markers to plant conservation. Chapter 13 in RJ Henry ed. Molecular Markers in Plants
- Rossetto M, Thurlby KAG, Offord CA, Allen CB, Weston PH (2011) The impact of distance and a shifting temperature gradient on genetic connectivity across a heterogeneous landscape. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:126.
- Kooyman R, Rossetto M, , Westoby M (2011) Phylogenetic tests of community assembly across regional 1 to continental scales in tropical and sub-tropical rainforests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 20(5): 707-716.
- Rossetto, M, RM Kooyman (2011) Predicting distributions by analysing evolutionary, functional and environmental information - a review of population genetic studies on the Australian rainforest flora. Chapter 11 pp. 305-322 in JA Daniels ed. Advances in Environmental Research, Volume 9. Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
- Mellick, R, Lowe A, Rossetto M (2011) Consequences of long- and short-term fragmentation on the genetic diversity and differentiation of a late successional rainforest conifer. Australian Journal of Botany 59: 351-362.
- Thurlby KAG, Connelly C, Wilson PG, Rossetto M (2011) Development of microsatellite loci for Syzygium paniculatum (Myrtaceae), a rare polyembryonic rainforest tree. Conservation Genetics Resources 3(2): 205-208.
- James EA, Brown GK, Citroen R, Rossetto M, Porter C (2011) Development of microsatellite loci in Triglochin procera (Juncaginaceae), a polyploidy wetland plant. Conservation Genetics Resources 3(1): 103-105.
- van der Merwe M, Spain C, Rossetto M (2010) Enhancing the survival and expansion potential of a founder population through clonality. New Phytologist 188(3): 868-878.
- van der Merwe, M, J Christina, M Rossetto (2009) Microsatellite loci for a new Australian endemic plant species Erythroxylum sp. 'Cholmondely Creek' (J.R.Clarkson 9367) (Erythroxylaceae). Conservation Genetics Resources 1: 329-331.
- Molecular Ecology Resources Primer Development Consortium (2009) Permanent genetic resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources database 1 May-31 July 2009. Molecular Ecology Resources 9(6): 1460-1466.
- Rossetto, M, D Crayn, A Ford, R Mellick, K Sommerville (2009) The influence of environment and life-history traits on the distribution of genes and individuals: a comparative study of 11 rainforest trees. Molecular Ecology 18: 1422-1438.
- Heslewood, M, C Porter, M Avino, M Rossetto (2009) Isolation and characterization of nuclear microsatellite loci in Ceratopetalum apetalum (Cunoniaceae). Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 566-568.
- Kooyman, R, M Rossetto (2008) Definition of plant functional groups for informing implementation scenarios in resource-limited multi-species recovery planning. Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 2917-2937.
- Rossetto, M, R Kooyman, W Sherwin, R Jones (2008) Dispersal limitations, rather than bottlenecks or habitat specificity, can restrict the distribution of rare and endemic rainforest trees. American Journal of Botany 95:321-329.
- McPherson, H, C Porter, PD Rymer, DM Crayn, M Rossetto (2008) Isolation and characterisation of polymorphic microsatellite loci from Tetratheca ericifolia (Elaeocarpaceae). Molecular Ecology Resources 8(4): 867-869.
- Maynard, D, D Crayn, M Rossetto, R Kooyman, M Coode (2008) Elaeocarpus sedentarius sp. nov. (Elaeocarpaceae) - morphometric analysis of a new, rare species from eastern Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 21: 192-200.
- Rossetto, M, D Crayn, A Ford, P Ridgeway, P Rymer (2007) The comparative study of range-wide genetic structure across related, co-distributed rainforest trees reveals contrasting evolutionary histories. Australian Journal of Botany 55(4): 416-424.
- Rossetto, M, DM Crayn, BR Jackes, C Porter (2007) An updated estimate of intergeneric relationships in the Australian Vitaceae. Canadian Journal of Botany 85 (8): 722-730.
- Rossetto, M (2007) From populations to communities: understanding changes in rainforest diversity through the integration of molecular, ecological and environmental data. Telopea 12(1): 47-58.
- Hinten, GN, M Rossetto, P Baverstock (2007) New microsatellite markers for bush rat, Rattus fuscipes greyii: characterization and cross-species amplification. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 1254-1257.
- Flanagan, NS, D Ebert, C Porter, M Rossetto, R Peakall (2006) Microsatellites markers for evolutionary studies in the sexually deceptive orchid genus Chiloglottis. Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 123-126.
- Sommerville, K, M Rossetto, A Pulkownik (2006) Isolation and characterisation of polymorphic microsatellite loci from Wilsonia backhousei (Convolvulaceae). Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 419-421.
- Porter, C, PD Rymer, M Rossetto (2006) Isolation and characterisation of microsatellite markers for the Waratah, Telopea speciosissima (Proteaceae). Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 446-448.
- Kooyman, R, M Rossetto (2006) Factors influencing species selection for littoral rainforest restoration: do environmental parameters matter? Ecological Management & Restoration 7(2): 113-122.
- Sherwin, WB, F Jabot, R Rush, M Rossetto (2006) Measurement of biological information with applications from genes to landscapes. Molecular Ecology 15: 2857-2869.
- Crayn, DM, M Rossetto, DJ Maynard (2006) Molecular phylogeny and dating reveals an Oligo-Miocene radiation of dry-adapted shrubs (Tremandraceae) from rainforest tree progenitors (Elaeocarpaceae) in Australia. American Journal of Botany 93(9): 1168-1182.
- Jackes, BR, M Rossetto (2006) A new combination in Clematicissus Planch. (Vitaceae). Telopea 11(3): 390-391.
- Rice, N, R Henry, M Rossetto (2006) DNA banks: a primary resource for conservation research. Chapter 6 pp. 41-48 in MC de Vicente ed. DNA banks - providing novel options for Genebanks? Topical Reviews in Agricultural Biodiversity, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy.
- Rossetto, M (2006) Impacts of habitat fragmentation. Chapter 8 pp.117-129 in RJ Henry ed. Plant conservation genetics. The Hawthorn Press, NY, USA.
- Rossetto, M, B Jackes, D Crayn (2006) Vitaceae - Molecular evolution with a focus on the Australian radiation. Chapter 10 pp. 269-292 in AK Sharma, A Sharma eds. Plant Genome: Biodiversity and Evolution - Volume 1, Part C: Phanerogams (Angiosperms - Dicotyledons). Science Publishers Inc, USA.
- Rossetto, M (2005) A simple molecular approach for identifying a rare Acronychia (Rutaceae) provides new insights on its multiple hybrid origins. Biological Conservation 121(1): 35-43.
- Rossetto, M, C Porter (2005) Isolation and characterisation of microsatellite loci from Eidothea hardeniana, an early Proteaceae. Molecular Ecology Notes 5: 106-108.
- Taylor KJ, AJ Lowe, RJ Hunter, T Ridgway, PM Gresshoff, M Rossetto (2005) Genetic diversity and regional identity in the Australian remnant Nothofagus moorei. Australian Journal of Botany 53: 437-444.
- Rossetto M, RM Kooyman (2005) The tension between dispersal and persistence regulates the current distribution of rare paleo-endemic rainforest flora: a case study. Journal of Ecology 93: 906-917.
- Vallee, L, T Hogbin, L Monks, B Makinson, M Matthes, M Rossetto (2004) Guidelines for the translocation of threatened plants in Australia. Second Edition. Australian Network for Plant Conservation, Canberra.
- Rossetto, M, CL Gross, R Jones, J Hunter (2004) The impact of clonality on an endangered tree (Elaeocarpus williamsianus) in a fragmented rainforest. Biological Conservation 117(1): 33-39.
- Rossetto, M, R Jones, J Hunter (2004) Genetic effects of rainforest fragmentation in an early successional tree (Elaeocarpus grandis). Heredity 93(6): 610-618.
- Wells G, G Zawko, M Rossetto, KW Dixon (2003) A molecular approach to provenance delineation for the restoration of hummock grasslands (Triodia spp.) in arid-tropical Australia. Ecological Management & Restoration 4(S1): S60-S68.
- Hinten, GN, F Harriss, M Rossetto, PR Baverstock. (2003) Genetic variation and island biogeography: microsatellite and mitochondrial variation in island populations of the bush rat, Rattus fuscipes greyii. Conservation Genetics 4(6): 759-778.
- Rossetto, M, J McNally, RJ Henry (2002) Evaluating the potential of SSR flanking regions for examining relationships in Vitaceae. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 104: 61-66.
- Arnold, C, M Rossetto, J McNally, RJ Henry (2002) The application of SSRs characterised for grape (Vitis vinifera) to conservation studies in Vitaceae. American Journal of Botany 89: 22-28.
- Lee, LS, L Brooks, LE Homer, M Rossetto, RJ Henry, PR Baverstock (2002) Geographic variation in the essential oils and morphology of natural populations of Melaleuca alternifolia. Biochemical Systematics and Evolution 30 (4): 343-360.
- Mattner, J, G Zawko, M Rossetto, S Krauss, K Dixon, K Sivasithamparam (2002) Conservation genetics and implications for restoration after mining of Hemiginea exilis (Lamiaceae), a serpentine endemic from Western Australian. Biological Conservation 107 (1): 37-45.
- Rossetto, M, B Jackes, KD Scott, RJ Henry (2002) Is the genus Cissus (Vitaceae) monophyletic: evidence from plastid and nuclear ribosomal DNA. Systematic Botany 27 (3): 522-533.
- Jones, RC, J McNally, M Rossetto (2002) Isolation of microsatellite loci from a rainforest tree, Elaeocarpus grandis (Elaeocarpaceae), and amplification across closely related taxa. Molecular Ecology Notes 2 (2): 179-181.
- Saenger, P, M Rossetto (2002) The use of DNA molecular techniques for mangrove studies. Mangrove Science 2: 1-9.
- Arnold, C, M Rossetto (2002) Comparative population studies on two Cissus species (Vitaceae) in fragmented and undisturbed rainforest habitats. Cunninghamia 7(4): 613-623.
- Rossetto, M, B Jackes, KD Scott, RJ Henry (2001) Intergeneric relationship in the Australian Vitaceae: new evidence from cpDNA analysis. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 48: 307-314.
- Lee, LS, M Rossetto, L Homer, RJ Henry (2001) Molecular analysis of wild plant germplasm: the case of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Chapter 7 pp. 95-107 in RJ Henry ed. Plant genotyping: the DNA fingerprinting of plants. CABI, Wallingford, UK.
- Rossetto, M (2001) Sourcing SSR markers from related plant species. Chapter 14 pp. 211-224 in RJ Henry ed. Plant genotyping: the DNA fingerprinting of plants. CABI, Wallingford, UK.
- Rossetto, M, FCL Harriss, A Mclauchlan, RJ Henry, PR Baverstock, LS Lee (2000) Interspecific amplification of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia - Myrtaceae) microsatellite loci - potential implications for conservation studies. Australian Journal of Botany 48 (3): 367-373.
- Scott, KD, P Eggler, G Seaton, M Rossetto, EM Ablett, LS Lee, RJ Henry (2000) Analysis of SSRs derived from grape ESTs. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 100: 723-726.
- Rossetto, M, J McNally, RJ Henry, J Hunter, M Matthes (2000) Conservation genetics of an endangered rainforest tree (Fontainea oraria - Euphorbiaceae) and implications for closely related species. Conservation Genetics 1 (3): 217-229.
- Rossetto, M, G Jezierski, SD Hopper, KW Dixon (1999) Conservation genetics and clonality in two critically endangered eucalypts from the highly endemic south-western Australian flora. Biological Conservation. 8 (3): 321-331.
- Rossetto, M, A McLauchlan, FCL Harriss, RJ Henry, LS Lee, P Baverstock, TL Maguire, K Edwards. (1999) Abundance and polymorphism of microsatellite markers in tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia - Myrtaceae). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 98:1091-1098.
- Rossetto, M, RW Slade, PR Baverstock, RJ Henry, LS Lee (1999) Microsatellite variation and assessment of genetic structure in tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia - Myrtaceae). Molecular Ecology 8: 633-643.
- Hinten, G, T Maguire, M Rossetto, P Baverstock (1999) Isolation and characterisation of microsatellite loci from the bush rat Rattus fuscipes greyii. Molecular Ecology 8: 1351-1352.
- Hopper, SD, MF Fay, M Rossetto, MW Chase (1999) A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the bloodroot and kangaroo paw family, Haemodoraceae: taxonomic, biogeographic and conservation implications. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 131: 285-299.
- Rossetto, M, RJ Henry, PR Baverstock, LS Lee, A McLauchlan, FCL Harriss, TL Maguire. (1999) Patent Co-operation Treaty no. PCT/AU99/00820 for Myrtaceae Microsatellites.
- Henry, RJ, LS Lee, E Ablett, K Scott, M Rossetto, P Eggler (1999) Vitaceae Microsatellites - PQ1276 (National).
- Scott, K, G Seaton, E Ablett, M Rossetto, R Henry, SL Lee (1999) Thaumatin-like genes - PQ1276 (National).
- Rossetto, M, SF Lucarotti, SD Hopper, KW Dixon (1997) DNA fingerprinting of Eucalyptus graniticola (the Dwellingup mallee) a critically endangered relict species or a rare hybrid? Heredity 79: 310-318.
- K Atkins, J Benson, K Dixon, L Gilfedder, M Jusaitis, M Matthes, M Rossetto (1997) Guidelines for the Translocation of Threatened Plants in Australia. Australian Network for Plant Conservation. Canberra.
- Rossetto, M, KW Dixon (1997) Are rare plant translocations beneficial to conservation? Chapter 79 pp. 442-445 in P Hale, D Lamb eds. 'Conservation Outside Reserves'. University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
- Sieler, IM, M Rossetto, KW Dixon (1997) II.2 Micropropagation of Caustis dioica (Chinese Puzzle). pp. 220-231 in YPS Bajaj ed. 'Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, Vol. 39, High-Tech and Micropropagation V'. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.
- Rossetto, M, PK Weaver, KW Dixon (1995) Use of RAPD analysis in devising conservation strategies for the rare and endangered Grevillea scapigera (Proteaceae). Molecular Ecology 4: 321-329.
- Rossetto, M, KW Dixon, KA Meney, E Bunn (1992) In vitro propagation of Chinese Puzzle (Caustis dioica Cyperaceae) - a commercial sedge species from Western Australia. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 30: 65-67.
- Rossetto, M, KW Dixon, E Bunn (1992) Aeration: a simple method to control vitrification and improve in vitro culture of rare Australian plants. In Vitro Cell Dev. Biol. 28P: 192-196.
- Zann, RA, M Rossetto (1991) Zebra finch incubation: brood patch, egg temperature and thermal properties of the nest. Emu 91: 107-109.