• The ecology of climate change

    Jason Tylianakis

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  • The origins of life

    Anthony Poole

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  • Evolution and culture in Bali

    Murray Cox

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  • How do marine systems function?

    Marti Anderson

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The Allan Wilson Centre, established in 2002, is one of New Zealand’s seven Centres of Research Excellence and one of two hosted by Massey University. We are a scientific network of over 100 researchers based at five universities and two crown research institutes. Following in the footsteps of the great New Zealand scientist, Allan Wilson, our researchers study the evolution of humans, animals, plants and disease. We are committed to securing the future of New Zealand’s biodiversity and improving human and environmental health.

Our Research

Allan Wilson Centre scientists undertake innovative, world-class research into New Zealand and Pacific plant and animal life, and human history, with a commitment to securing the future of our biodiversity, and improving human and environmental health through local engagement. We optimise the skills and knowledge of New Zealand’s finest evolutionary biologists, ecologists and biomathematicians for national benefit, through our collaborative network and combined resources...
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Our People

The Allan Wilson Centre is a virtual research organisation hosted by Massey University with staff located at seven research institutions throughout New Zealand. The Centre’s operations are guided by a Governance Board with advice and support provided by an International Science Advisory Panel comprised of eminent researchers. The management team...
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We are pleased to announce that we have secured four top scientists for the 2015 Allan Wilson Centre international speaker series: ​Steve O'Brien (St Petersburg State University); Hopi Hoekstra (Harvard University); Tom Higham (Oxford University); and Scott Edwards (Harvard University). To receive advance information on these speakers subscribe under Advanced Events below...
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Interview with Terry Burrell,
which includes a lesson with a class of Year 10 students at Onslow College... >>
Inspirational science teacher wins PM award
Terry Burrell of Onslow College, has won the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize, worth $150,000, for her ‘infectious love of learning’. Terry is also the Allan Wilson Centre’s teacher advisor, and develops school resources based on our science. Peter Leggat, Principal of Onslow College, said: “She has had a huge influence on the quality of science teaching and learning.” Onslow’s NCEA achievement statistics are consistently high. Whilst acknowledging this is important, Terry feels the best outcome is that students “remain curious, see themselves as capable and stay in science longer”... >>
University of Canterbury has elevated Mike Steel, of the School of Mathematics and Statistics to the status of Distinguished Professor,
a title reserved for professors who demonstrate world-class academic leadership and achievements. This is in addition to receiving the UoC 2014 Research Medal, the highest honour the university’s council can extend to its academic staff, recognising research excellence. Congratulations to Mike - an AWC Principal Investigator and our deputy director... >>
Kim Hill talks to Associate Professor Thomas Buckley,
Principal Investigator at the Allan Wilson Centre, who was one of over 100 researchers from 16 countries who have just published the first paper from the 1KITE study of insect evolution... >>
AWC Investigator, Professor Nigel French,
has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Congratulations Nigel... >>
AWC Associate Professor David Bryant, makes it into Nature
with a discovery about the role of horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of primitive microbes called archaea... >>
Primitive microbes stole bacterial genes on a surprising scale... >>
Origins of major archaeal clades correspond to gene acquisitions from bacteria... >>
Helping the Kakapo’s long-term survival
Research by University of Otago and AWC zoology doctoral student Gabrielle Knafler has revealed genetic diversity in the immune systems of the kakapo that could help the population’s long term survival. Details of Gabrielle’s research features in the 2014 NZGL annual report... >>
Rare footage captured of tuatara hatching
has been filmed at Victoria University... >>
A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara
The Allan Wilson Centre’s work with the local community in Tolaga Bay features in a case study on page 13 of the new national strategic plan for science in society... >>
The Max Planck Society has announced that the founding directors of the Max Planck Institute for History and the Sciences
will be AWC member Russell Gray and geneticist Johannes Krause (Tübingen). Their research focus is on the development and application of new scientific methods to produce an integrated science of human history... >>
The University of Canterbury has awarded one of two 2014 Research Medals
- its highest honour for research excellence - to AWC Deputy Director, Professor Mike Steel... >>
Kim Hill interviews Professor Jon Waters about his discoveries using DNA analysis
to compare fossil and living coastal species... >>
See Doctor Jane Goodall for her only television interview
while she's in New Zealand, with reporter Whena Owen on TV3’s Campbell Live... >>
Principal Investigator Nigel French has won $1.1M Health Research Council funding
to investigate antimicrobial resistance and the transfer of diseases from pets to humans and vice versa... >>
Listen to the Radio NZ National Kathryn Ryan interview
with world-renowned primatologist and conservationist Doctor Jane Goodall recorded 19 June 2014... >>