Pelargonium transvaalense, Mpumalanga

Caroline Chong, Post-doc fellow

Division of Plant Sciences, Research School of Biology
Borevitz lab, Linnaeus Building 134 L1 N, Linnaeus Way
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
U 3043 North Eagleville Road
The University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269 U.S.A.

Interests and Experience

  • Ecology and evolution of plants – from the field to the alleles and back again
  • Drivers of evolution and persistence in unpredictable environments
  • Ecosystem function, conservation and management – rivers and floodplains
  • Genomics on the landscape to understand population genetic processes

I am interested in the processes that link genes to the environment on complex landscapes. In particular, I am interested in understanding how populations and organisms acclimate, evolve and persist in changing, disturbed and extreme environments, and in integrating landscape genomics and phenomics approaches with environmental information to address these questions. Currently, I am researching the drivers of evolutionary divergence and dimensions of biodiversity  in Pelargonium in Mediterranean and arid South Africa and Australia. Recently, I have studied Melaleuca  evolutionary ecology in sub-tropical Australia from clonal to river catchment scales, and population genetic and phylogeographic processes in freshwater and terrestrial native and invasive species including in the Murray-Darling River Basin, southern Australia.


Field sites


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Academic Background

Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology, James Cook University Townsville, 2009
Thesis:  A riparian perspective on plant ecology and evolution.

B.Sc. (Hons. 1A) in Environmental Biology and Botany, The University of Adelaide, 2002
Thesis:  Reproductive ecology of tangled lignum on the River Murray floodplain.

Professional Experience

Post-doctoral fellow, The University of Connecticut, April 2012 – present

Profs. Carl Schlichting, Cindi S. Jones, Kent E. Holsinger and John Silander. U.S.A.-N.S.F. Dimensions of Biodiversity: Parallel evolutionary radiations in  Pelargonium  and  Protea  in the Greater Cape Floristic Region. Integrating landscape, community, environmental, functional trait, phenomic, genomic and phylogenomic research to understand the distributions of genetic and phenotypic variation on the landscape and through evolutionary time.

Post-doctoral fellow, CSIRO, Jan 2008 – Jul 2011

(1) Dr. Linda Broadhurst, Conservation Genetics (2) Dr. Joe Miller, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research. (1) Water for a Healthy Country: floodplain ecosystem function and invasive population management in the Murray-Darling River Basin. (2) Phylogeography and population genetics in Australian native and invasive plant species.


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