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Dr Richard Jobson

Research Scientist

Dr Richard Jobson is a research scientist with a passion for the conservation of plants and their habitats. His interest in botany started in early childhood, growing and studying orchids and carnivorous plants. After achieving a PhD in botany from the University of Queensland, he did postdoctoral work in the USA and Europe. His research attempts to understand Australia’s plant diversity, taxonomy, and biogeography, to contribute to the conservation and management of their habitats. His main interests involve studies of the evolution of aquatic plant lineages, and taxonomic issues in Australian plants. 

Research Projects

Phylogeny and genome evolution across the Lentibulariaceae

Collaborators: Taylor Davies-Colley, Tanya Renner, Victor Albert

Diversification and taxonomic limits within the three subgenera of Utricularia (Lentibulariaceae) are being addressed using phylogenetics and morphometrics.  The phylogenetic results are being used to model biogeographic patterns and morphological evolution; this provides a hypothesis for the circumscription of taxa. A second component of the study involves collaboration with researchers in the USA to sequence multiple genomes across the family. Of the three Lentibulariaceae genera, Utricularia and Genlisea possess species with the smallest known plant genomes and some of the fastest rates of molecular evolution in angiosperms. These genera have also lost the typical angiosperm bodyplan, evolving an enormous array of morphological forms. Sequencing full nuclear genomes across most of the major lineages of the family may reveal the mechanisms responsible for the above patterns.

Funded by an Australian Biological Resources Study Bush Blitz grant.

Phylogeny, phylogeography and species limits within kangaroo grasses (Themeda, Poaceae)

Collaborators: Luke Dunning, Nigel Barker

In collaboration with researchers at Uni. of Pretoria and Uni. Sheffield, sampling from across Australia and the world has shown that the grass genus Themeda has undergone a rapid radiation. This study will test the taxonomic boundaries among species of Themeda providing insight into the evolution of species important for native rangelands and those that are significant weeds. Recent population sampling of T. triandra from across Australia will contribute to the USA based ‘Pan-Andropogoneae’ project looking at evolutionary history in grass genomes to better model fitness under drought and temperature stress.
Funded by an Australian Biological Resources Study grant.

A comprehensive floristic account of Australian Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae)

Collaborators: Paulo Baleeiro, Greg Leach, Rod Fensham, Lyn Cook

The genus Eriocaulon contains 400 species, with 34 described Australian species and 8 unnamed species. This project aims to examine relationships across taxa, assess taxonomic boundaries, publish undescribed taxa and assess conservation status among threatened species, and examine evolution of morphology and ploidy. The project is in collaboration with a student and researchers from Uni of Queensland and the Northern Territory Herbarium. A second component of the study will involve deeper sequencing within and between populations of problematic species complexes.

Funded by an Australian Biological Resources Study grant.

Publication highlights

You can find my other research papers on ResearchGate

• Barrett RL, Jobson RW (2021) Lechenaultia peregrina, a new species of Goodeniaceae from northern Australia, New Guinea and the Moluccas. Telopea: In press.

Jobson RW, Cherry W (2020) Utricularia gaagudju, a new species for the Northern Territory, and a recircumscription of U. kimberleyensis C.A.Gardner. Telopea 23: 61-68.

• Baleeiro PC, Jobson RW, Barrett RL (2020) Drosera stipularis, a new species for the D. petiolaris complex from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Telopea 23: 35-40.

Jobson RW, Davies-Colley T (2020) Redescription of the suspended aquatic Utricularia aurea Lour. (sect. Utricularia) and a new species U. adamsii for northern Australia. Telopea 23: 21-33.

• Albrecht DE, Walsh N, Jobson RW, Knox EB (2020). Lobelia fenshamii N.G.Walsh & Albr. and L. fontana Albr. & N.G.Walsh (Campanulaceae: Lobelioideae), two new species endemic to artesian springs in central and south-western Queensland. Austrobaileya 10: 583-593.

Jobson RW, Baleeiro PC (2020) Radiations of fairy-aprons (Utricularia dichotoma, Lentibulariacceae) across eastern Australia: molecular evidence for new species and proposal for new subspecies. Australian Systematic Botany 33: 278-310

•  Kaplan Z, Fehrer J, Jobson RW (2019) Discovery of the Northern Hemisphere hybrid Potamogeton ×salicifolius in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Telopea 22: 141-151.

• Larridon I, Jobson RW, et al. (2019) First molecular phylogenetic insights into the evolution of Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae, Poales). Journal of Plant Research 132: 12-18.
• Baleeiro P, Sano P, Jobson RW (2019) Molecular phylogeny of the Utricularia amethystina complex (Sect. Foliosa) addressed using plastid and nuclear sequences data. Systematic Botany 2: 398-404.

• Kodela P, Jobson RW (2018) Hydrocleys nymphoides (Alismataceae) naturalised in New South Wales waterways. Telopea 21: 167-173.

Current student collaborators

Paulo C. Baleeiro. Thesis: A floristic account of Australian Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae). PhD Student. Supervised by Rod Fensham, Lyn Cook, Richard Jobson. University of Queensland. 
Taylor Davies-Colley.  Phylogenetics of subgenus Utricularia (Lentibulariaceae), the rapid decline and uncertain future of the rare native bladderwort Utricularia australis in New Zealand. MSc Student. Supervised by Janice Lord and Paul Champion. University of Otago, NZ.
Markus S. Reut. Phylogeography of the Utricularia dichotoma complex across Eastern Australia. Supervised by Bartosz Jan Płachno. Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.

Affiliations and committees

Associate Editor, Telopea. (2011– )
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales. (2017–)

Scientific Curatorial responsibilities in herbarium

Acoraceae, Alismataceae, Alismataceae, Aponogetonaceae, Araceae, Arecaceae, Bignoniaceae, Bonnetiaceae, Bromeliaceae, Butomaceae, Calophyllaceae, Centroplacaceae, Commelinaceae, Cyclanthaceae, Cymodoceaceae, Ecdeiocoleaceae, Eriocaulaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Euphroniaceae, Flagellariaceae, Gerrardinaceae, Haemodoraceae, Humiriaceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Joinvilleaceae, Juncaginaceae, Lacistemataceae, Lentibulariaceae, Maundiaceae, Mayacaceae, Pandanaceae, Peraceae, Petenaeaceae, Philydraceae, Phyllanthaceae, Picrodendraceae, Poaceae, Pontederiaceae, Posidoniaceae, Potamogetonaceae, Putranjivaceae, Rapateaceae, Restionaceae, Ruppiaceae, Scheuchzeriaceae, Schlegeliaceae, Tapisciaceae, Thomandersiaceae, Thurniaceae, Ticodendraceae, Triuridaceae, Typhaceae, Velloziaceae, Xyridaceae, Zosteraceae.


The Northern Dailey Leader: New flower discovered in a swamp west of Wee Waa.
Namoi Valley Independent: New flower discovered in a swamp west of Wee Waa.
Cairns Post: New plant species puts the bite into bugs.