Francis Nge

Mr Francis Nge

PhD Candidate

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Francis is an evolutionary biologist and plant systematist, interested in macroevolutionary patterns and processes across different scales in time and space. Francis’ main research interests include understanding the drivers and mechanisms that have resulted in the uneven distribution of earth’s biodiversity across the Tree of Life. Particularly, he is interested in region-specific diversification dynamics, and understanding the origins and evolution of the Australian flora, as well as tropical rainforest systems.

He engages in interdisciplinary research, and incorporates different approaches across the fields of evolutionary biology, systematics, taxonomy, biogeography, ecology, and physiology to address fundamental questions of biology. 

Francis completed his PhD degree (2021) at the University of Adelaide, as part of Michelle Waycott's lab and in association with the State Herbarium of South Australia. In this role, Francis had a research interest in the macro-evolution and systematics of the Australian flora including a selected focus on plant-traits evolution, phylogenomics, biogeography, and phylogeography. His research in plant systematics focuses on a broad range of taxonomic plant groups including Proteaceae, Myrtaceae, and Rhamnaceae.

Francis still maintain active and ongoing research collaborative links with colleagues at the University of Adelaide and State Herbarium of South Australia. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Montpellier, France, where he focuses on the phylogenomics and evolution of the custard apple family (Annonaceae) and tropical rainforests more broadly.

  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2017 - 2021 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    2013 - 2016 The University of Western Australia Australia BSc. (Hons)
  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2022 Nge, F. J., Biffin, E., Waycott, M., & Thiele, K. R. (2022). Phylogenomics and continental biogeographic disjunctions: insight from the Australian starflowers (Calytrix). American Journal of Botany, 109(2), 291-308.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS2 Europe PMC1
    2021 Nge, F., Biffin, E., Thiele, K., & Waycott, M. (2021). Reticulate Evolution, Ancient Chloroplast Haplotypes, and Rapid Radiation of the Australian Plant Genus Adenanthos (Proteaceae). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8, 1-15.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS5
    2021 Nge, F. J., Kellermann, J., Biffin, E., Waycott, M., & Thiele, K. R. (2021). Historical biogeography of Pomaderris (Rhamnaceae): continental vicariance in Australia and repeated independent dispersals to New Zealand.. Mol Phylogenet Evol, 158, 1-11.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS7 Europe PMC2
    2021 Hayes, P. E., Nge, F. J., Cramer, M. D., Finnegan, P. M., Fu, P., Hopper, S. D., . . . Lambers, H. (2021). Traits related to efficient acquisition and use of phosphorus promote diversification in Proteaceae in phosphorus‐impoverished landscapes. Plant and Soil, 462(1-2), 67-88.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS8
    2021 Nge, F. J., & Thiele, K. R. (2021). Review of the infrageneric classification of Adenanthos (Proteaceae)- the subsections of Adenanthos are polyphyletic. Nuytsia, 32, 59-61.
    2020 Nge, F. J., Biffin, E., Thiele, K. R., & Waycott, M. (2020). Extinction pulse at Eocene-Oligocene boundary drives diversification dynamics of two Australian temperate floras.. Proc Biol Sci, 287(1919), 20192546-20192553.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS10 Europe PMC1
    2020 Nge, F. J., Cambridge, M. L., Ellsworth, D. S., Zhong, H., & Lambers, H. (2020). Cluster roots are common in daviesia and allies (Mirbelioids; fabaceae). Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 103, 111-118.
    2019 Plachno, B. J., Stpiczynska, M., Swiatek, P., Lambers, H., Miranda, V. F. O., Nge, F. J., . . . Cawthray, G. R. (2019). Floral micromorphology of the bird-pollinated carnivorous plant species Utricularia menziesii R.Br. (Lentibulariaceae). Annals of botany, 123(1), 213-220.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC3
    2019 Nge, F. J., Ranathunge, K., Kotula, L., Cawthray, G., & Lambers, H. (2019). Strong host specificity of a root hemi-parasite (Santalum acuminatum) limits its local distribution: beggars can be choosers. Plant and Soil, 437(1-2), 159-177.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS9
    2019 Płachno, B. J., Stpiczyńska, M., Świątek, P., Lambers, H., Cawthray, G. R., Nge, F. J., . . . Miranda, V. F. O. (2019). Floral micromorphology and nectar composition of the early evolutionary lineage Utricularia (subgenus Polypompholyx, Lentibulariaceae). Protoplasma, 256(6), 1531-1543.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC3
    2018 Hammer, T. A., Macintyre, P. D., Nge, F. J., Davis, R. W., Mucina, L., & Thiele, K. R. (2018). The noble and the exalted: A multidisciplinary approach to resolving a taxonomic controversy within Ptilotus (Amaranthaceae). Australian Systematic Botany, 31(3), 262-280.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS5
    2018 Nge, F. J., & Lambers, H. (2018). Reassessing protocarnivory-how hungry are triggerplants?. Australian Journal of Botany, 66(4), 325-330.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS3
    2017 Thiele, K. R., & Nge, F. J. (2017). Hibbertia sejuncta, a new, rare species from Western Australia, with notes on H. helianthemoides. Nuytsia, 28, 115-117.
    2017 Nge, F. J., Keighery, G. J., & Thiele, K. R. (2017). A revision of the calytrix acutifolia complex (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae). Nuytsia, 28, 321-337.
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2019 Nge, F. J. (2019). Triggerplant (Stylidium) Species Richness at the Proposed Yule Brook Regional Park. In H. Lambers (Ed.), A Jewel in the Crown of a Global Biodiversity Hotspot (pp. 249-260). Kwongan Foundation and the Naturalists' Club Inc.
    2019 Nge, F. J. (2019). New and rare species of Banksia (Proteaceae). In G. Zemunik (Ed.), Kwongan Matters Newsletter (Vol. 8, pp. 18-23). the University of Western Australia.

Francis has been awarded more than $49,000 in funding through six different competitive student grants in assisting his PhD research. He has also received a number of awards, including a $1500 ABRS international travel grant, three poster prizes, and 3Minute Talk winner at UoA.


  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment Grant, Ecological Society of Australia ($6695)
  • Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund, Australasian Systematic Botany Society ($5000) on the systematics, evolution, and diversification of Isopogon-Petrophile (Proteaceae) and allies


  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment Grant, Ecological Society of Australia ($6570)
  • Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grant, Field Naturalists Society of South Australia ($2956)
  • Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) Student Travel Grant ($1500)


  • Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund, Australasian Systematic Botany Society ($5000on species delimitation in Banksia (Proteaceae): revisiting the unified species concept                         
  • National Taxonomy Research Grant on Rhamnaceae, Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS); listed as primary PhD student involved in the project ($210,000)
  • Plant Systematics PhD Grant, South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources ($23,000)

Francis has six years of experience in teaching, having been involved in teaching undergraduate courses at two different universities, with a focus on plant systematics and evolution.


Demonstrator in the Botany II course (ENV BIOL 2500) at the University of Adelaide.


Demonstrator in the intensive Plant Identification course (ENV BIOL 2510) at the University of Adelaide.


Demonstrator in the Plant II course (ENV BIOL 2500) at the University of Adelaide.                                                                                                                                      


Demonstrator in the Evolutionary Biology III course (ENV BIOL 3590) at the University of Adelaide.   

Demonstrator in the intensive Plant Identification course (ENV BIOL 2510) at the University of Adelaide.


Demonstrator in the intensive Plant Identification course (ENV BIOL 2510) at the University of Adelaide.


Demonstrator during the field trip of the 3rd year Plant Eco-physiology course (PLNT3301) at the University of Western Australia.

  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2021 - ongoing Member Ecological Society of Australia Australia
    2021 - ongoing Member Society of Systematic Biologists United States
    2021 - ongoing Member Society for the Study of Evolution United States
    2021 - ongoing Member Botanical Society of America United States
    2020 - ongoing Member The Systematics Association United Kingdom
    2019 - ongoing Member Biological Society of South Australia Australia
    2019 - ongoing Member School of Biological Sciences Postgraduate association Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member Australian Systematic Botany Society Australia
  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: The Braggs, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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