BSc, MSc, PhD
Professor of Evolutionary Biology, School of Environment
Contact details for Professor David Lambert
- Ancient DNA Research
- Molecular Evolution
- Conservation genetics
- Evolutionary biology
- Evolutionary theory
- Ancient DNA: rates of molecular evolution
Professor Lambert's lab were the first to use ancient DNA recovered from serially preserved animal to estimate rates of molecular change. Moving forwards, the teamproposes projects estimating molecular rates of change in a number of vertebrate species such as Sacred Ibis, using ancient mummies of this species from Egypt and continuing work on Adélie penguins from Antarctica. This work is in collaboration with Prof Salima Ikram from the American University in Cairo, Egypt and Dr Craig Millar from the University of Auckland.
- The evolution of extinct moa
This work is in collaboration with Dr Craig Millar and long-term postdoctoral fellow Leon Huynen at Griffith. This work has involved the development of DNA tests for sex in moa, the recovery of DNA from eggs and elucidating the number of moa species.
- Commensal animals and human evolution
Many animal species have been transported with humans as they migrated across the globe. These animal species can potentially provide important information about human migration patterns and pathways. This is a collaborative project with Prof Lisa Matisoo-Smith from the University of Otago.
- The evolution of domestication
The domestication of animals by humans has been important triggers of human evolution. This work would be in collaboration with Prof Paul Tacon from the Gold Coast Campus.
- Past environmental (climate) change and implications for the future
Professor Lambert's lab proposes a study of molecular changes in the Adélie penguins from Antarctica over a period in which temperatures have increased by ~100 C. This work is in collaboration with Dr Craig Millar, University of Auckland, Prof Carlo Baroni from the University of Piza, Italy and Dr Siva Swaminathan in Hyderabad in India.
- The Peopling of Australia: The First Australians and the spread of modern humans in Australasia
The work by Professor Lambert's lab on ancient DNA provides a wonderful opportunity to address some of the issues above. For example the robust and gracile forms characteristic of early Australians have been thought to be different sexes or groups. The group aims to test this by sexing remains of these samples. The work is in collaboration with Dr Michael Westaway from Flinders University in South Australia, Prof Eske Willerslev from the University of Copenhagen and Prof Lisa Matisso-Smith from the University of Otago.
- Team Leader
- Professor David Lambert
- Postdoctoral Fellows
- Dr Leon Huyen
- Dr Sankar Sankarsubramanian
- PhD Candidates
- Mr Tim Heupink (Ancient DNA
Mr Chris Chetland (Convergent Evolution)
Recent Research Grant Success
ARC Discovery Project | DP110101364 | October 2010
Prof David M Lambert, Dr Craig A Smith, Dr Craig D Millar, Prof Dr Michael S Hofreiter
Project Title - The molecular evolution of wings in flightless birds
Primary FoR 0604 GENETICS
The flightless Australian emu and New Zealand kiwi have small wings, while the extinct moa had none at all. This project will identify the genetic changes that have lead to wing reduction and loss in flightless birds. The results will shed light on the genetic control of forelimb development and how it has evolved.
ARC Discovery Project | DP110102635 | October 2010
Prof David M Lambert, Prof Eske Willerslev, Dr Michael C Westaway, Prof Elizabeth (Lisa) A Matisoo-Smith
Project Title - The origin of the first Australians
Primary FoR 1601 ANTHROPOLOGY
Using new DNA methods researchers aim to uncover the origins of the first Australians and to provide new evidence for when people came here and where they came from. This exciting work aims to determine some of the physical and metabolic characteristics of these early people.
- Lambert, D.M. and Huynen, L. 2010. Face of the past reconstructed. Nature 463: 739-740.
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- Lambert, D.M. and Millar, C.D. 2006. Ancient genomics is born. Nature 444: 275-276.
- Baker, A.J., Huynen, L. Haddrath, O., Millar, C.D. and Lambert, D.M. 2005. Reconstructing the tempo and mode of evolution in an extinct clade of birds with ancient DNA: the giant moas of New Zealand. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 102: 8257-8262.
- Shepherd, L.D., Millar, C.D. Ballard, G. Ainley, D.G., Wilson, P.R., Haynes, G.D., Baroni, C. and Lambert D.M. 2005. Microevolution and mega-icebergs in the Antarctic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 102: 16717-16722.
- Huynen, C.D., Millar, C.D., Scofield, R.P. and Lambert, D.M. 2003. Nuclear DNA sequences detect species limits in ancient moa. Nature 425: 175-178.
- Lambert, D.M., Ritchie, P.A., Millar, C.D., Holland, B., Drummond, A.J. and Baroni C. 2002. Rates of evolution in ancient DNA from Adélie penguins. Science 295: 2270-2273.
- Matisoo-Smith, E., Roberts R.M., Irwin G.J., Allen J.S., Penny D. and Lambert D.M. 1998. Patterns of prehistoric human mobility in polynesia revealed by mitochondrial DNA from the pacific rat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95: 15145-15150.
- Lambert D.M. and Spencer H.G. (eds.). 1995. Speciation and the Recognition Concept: Theory and Application. pp 238-259 Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Lambert, D.M., Millar C.D., Jack K., Anderson S. and Craig J.L. 1994. Single and multilocus DNA fingerprinting of communally breeding pukeko - do copulations or dominance ensure reproductive success? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 91: 9641-9645.
- Henderson, N.R. and Lambert D.M. 1982. No significant deviation from random mating of worldwide populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Nature 300: 437-440.
- View all publications by Professor David Lambert (as at September 2010)
- Subramanian, S., Huynen, L, Millar, C. D. and Lambert, D. M. 2010. Next generation sequencing and analysis of a conserved transcriptome of New Zealand's kiwi. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 387-396
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- Huynen, L., Gill, B., Millar, C.D. and Lambert, D.M. 2010. Ancient DNA reveals extreme egg morphology and nesting behaviour in New Zealand's extinct moa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA: 31st August doi/10.1073/pnas.0914096107.
View full paper | View Griffith News Feature Article
- Lambert, D.M. Millar, C.D. Swaminathan, S. and Baroni, C. 2010. Ancient DNA: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution. American Scientist 98: 386-393.
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Awards and Honours
- Queensland-Smithsonian Fellow, 2010
- Fellow Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2009 - present